Bipartisan Senate Legislation Introduced to Improve Patient Access to Health Care through Pharmacists

January 30, 2015

The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) applauds the introduction of the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act, which will improve patient access to health care through pharmacists' patient care services.

PRESS RELEASE

January 29, 2015

APhA Applauds Introduction of New Senate Bill, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) applauds today’s introduction of S. 314, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act, which will improve patient access to health care through pharmacists’ patient care services.

S. 314, introduced today by U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Robert Casey (D-PA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), enables patient access to, and coverage of, Medicare Part B services by pharmacists in medically underserved communities. Grassley, Brown and Casey are members of the Senate Finance Committee and Casey and Kirk are members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. As the committees of jurisdiction, the Senate Finance and HELP committees are key to the successful passage of the legislation. S. 314 is a companion bill to H.R. 592, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, yesterday.

“APhA is thrilled to see the introduction of Senate legislation to increase patient access to health care through pharmacists’ vital patient care services,” said Matthew C. Osterhaus, a community pharmacy owner in Iowa and APhA President. In 2012, Osterhaus hosted a pharmacy visit for Senator Grassley to showcase the importance of pharmacists in their community. “We are grateful to Senator Grassley and the other sponsors of both this legislation and the companion House bill and stand ready to work with you to pass this important Act.”

Osterhaus continued, “Pharmacists play a key role on the health care team. I work with my patients’ other health care providers to optimize their care and health outcomes. Although my patients and their physicians recognize and value my role on their health care team, federal law does not. By recognizing pharmacists’ patient care services under Medicare, this new legislation creates better access to health care for medically underserved patients in Iowa and throughout the U.S.”

APhA is a member of the Patient Access to Pharmacists Care Coalition (PAPCC) — a coalition comprised of organizations representing patients, pharmacists and pharmacies, as well as other interested stakeholders, devoted to expanding patient access to pharmacist-provided patient care services in medically underserved communities consistent with state scope of practice law. APhA and the PAPCC led a campaign in support of similar House legislation – H.R. 4190 – introduced in the 113th Congress.

About the Pharmacists Provide Care Campaign

The Pharmacists Provide Care Campaign is dedicated to promoting patient access to health care through pharmacists’ patient care services by educating policymakers and the public about pharmacists’ role as health care providers. These important patient care services are not currently recognized under federal law. Extending this recognition will give patients greater access to pharmacists’ patient care services, allow pharmacists to work more closely with health care teams to manage chronic conditions, help patients transition between health care settings, reduce hospital readmissions and control medical costs. For more information, please visitPharmacistsProvideCare.com

About the American Pharmacists Association

The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, is a 501 (c)(6) organization, representing more than 62,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and others interested in advancing the profession. APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States. For more information, please visit www.pharmacist.com.