ASHP applauds Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) for the reintroduction of the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (S. 109 and H.R. 592). H.R. 592 was reintroduced on Friday, January 20, with Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) as original co-sponsors. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Robert Casey (D-Pa.) joined Grassley as original co-sponsors of S. 109 when the bill was reintroduced on Friday, January 13. The legislation will amend the Social Security Act to recognize pharmacists as providers under Medicare Part B, a change that will help address gaps in our nation’s healthcare system by increasing access to pharmacists’ services for patients who live in medically underserved communities.
“We commend the bill’s sponsors for their continued leadership on this important patient care and access to care issue,” said ASHP CEO Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP. “Patients all across the country will benefit from the vital clinical services pharmacists provide to improve medication therapy outcomes, and overall public health. We look forward to working with Congress to enact this critical legislation.”
The legislation promotes cost-effective healthcare by increasing opportunities for early interventions and improved care transitions for patients in federally defined medically underserved communities. The legislation would not expand the types of services that pharmacists are permitted to provide. Eligible services would continue to be governed by state pharmacy practice acts. The companion measures garnered the bipartisan support of nearly 350 co-sponsors in the 114th Congress; 27 senators and 107 representatives have signaled their support for the reintroduced bills.
Pharmacists have comprehensive and unique education and training in the use of medications to treat, manage, and prevent diseases. A significant body of evidence shows that pharmacists contribute to improved health outcomes, enhanced patient satisfaction, and lower healthcare costs when they are part of the healthcare team. 
ASHP is a leading member of the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition — a group of more than 35 national and 70 state organizations representing patients, pharmacists, and pharmacies, as well as other interested stakeholders — which is leading efforts to garner support for the bill.
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