APhA Board of Trustees Commits $1.5M to Ensure Patient Access to Pharmacists' Clinical Services

Published Online: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
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APhA is committed to optimizing the medication experience and wellness of our patients.

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Pharmacists Association today announced a major commitment by the APhA Board of Trustees to seek increased access for patients to pharmacists’ clinical services. The APhA Board allocated $1.5M toward a multi-million dollar, multi-faceted, long range effort by APhA and the profession to gain recognition for pharmacists’ role as health care providers (aka provider status).

As medication experts, pharmacists play a critical role in the provision of patient care services, in collaboration with physicians and other providers on the healthcare team. Pharmacists’ patient care services have grown beyond functions tied to medication product and delivery. Many pharmacists are providing expanded service offerings such as medication monitoring, patient education, comprehensive medication reviews, coordination of medications during care transitions, prevention, wellness and chronic disease management. Studies and practice-based experience have shown that when pharmacists are involved as members of the health care team, patient outcomes improve, patients report higher rates of satisfaction and overall health care costs are reduced. But without the proper recognition and payment models in place, patients and health care providers are often denied access to the benefits of those clinical care services.

Steven T. Simenson, BSPharm, FAPhA, FACA, FACVP, APhA President-elect and Chair of the Provider Status Task Force, stated, “The APhA Board of Trustees is excited to commit to this multi-faceted approach to the value recognition of pharmacists’ clinical services. The pharmacy profession is coming together on principles to achieve provider status and to integrate pharmacists within developing health benefit delivery models. Factors like CMS’s Three Part Aim approach to optimized health system performance — improve the patient experience of care, improve the health of populations and reduce the per capita cost of health care — will be considered in the development of principles. But the ultimate goal is a consensus-based approach for advocacy and legislative efforts, which increases our chances of increasing patient access to the clinical care services we can provide.”

The Initiative seeks to ensure that:

  1. Payers and policy makers give patients access to pharmacists’ clinical services and recognize pharmacists as health care providers who improve access, quality and value of health care;
  2. Patients have access to pharmacists’ clinical services through Medicare/Medicaid, other federal and state health benefit programs, Integrated Care Delivery Models (e.g. ACOs and Medical Homes) and/or private payers (commercial insurers, self-insured, patient self-pay) by listing pharmacists as providers and/or properly valuing these services in payment models;
  3. Every patient’s health benefit plan package includes pharmacists’ clinical services (patient care services) as a core component.

APhA is committed to optimizing the medication experience and wellness of our patients. By working with national and state pharmacy organizations through common principles, we can assure that patients do not continue to experience a lack of access to pharmacists’ patient care services. By working together with patients, other providers and payers, we will optimize safe, effective and appropriate medication use while gaining recognition for the services that make that possible.

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