Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act
HR.592 introduced by US Rep. Brett Guthrie and S.314 introduced by US Sen. Chuck Grassley:
  • Formally recognizes pharmacists as health care providers under Medicare Part B
  • Follows states’ scope of practice for all licensed pharmacists
  • Serves patients in medically underserved areas (73 of Arkansas’s 75 counties count as “underserved”)
Hurdles to Passage
  • Cost of implementing the bill has not yet been released by the Congressional Budget Office
  • Poor understanding of “pharmacist services” and the ways pharmacists provide value
  • Bill needs 230 cosponsors (22 sponsors away) from moving forward in the US House of Representatives
  • There is a lot of room for more pharmacy advocates. Only 7500 of the nation's estimated 290,000 pharmacists have sent letters to Congress in support of the bill.
Future Hurdles
  • Studies showing cost versus savings of pharmacists being formally recognized as providers
  • Copays/medical coding issues
  • Documentation practice standardization
  • Billing issues
  • Tracking pharmacist readiness
  • Workflow issues
What Pharmacists Can Do Today
  1. Sign up for the Pharmacists Provide Care Coalition Newsletter
  2. Send a quick “Thank You” or “Please Support” email to your Representatives and Senators.
  3. Spread the word on social media and include patient-focused messaging
Key Takeaways
  • More co-sponsors are needed to get the bill passed by Congress in its current session.
  • The bill should be “scored” by the Congressional Budget Office in the coming weeks or months.
  • The bill does not grant prescriptive authority unless it is already in a state’s scope of practice for pharmacists.
  • The bill only pertains to pharmacists being recognized as providers under Medicare Part B.