Representatives Todd Yong and Ron Kind issued statements this week to the United States House of Representatives' Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health in support of pharmacists having a larger role in health care as part of a hearing on legislation to improve and sustain the Medicare program.
Representatives Todd Yong (R-IN) and Ron Kind (D-WI) issued statements this week to the United States House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health in support of pharmacists having a larger role in health care as part of a hearing on legislation to improve and sustain the Medicare program.
The Congressmen’s statements add fuel to feedback that the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) provided to the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health earlier this month on how to improve and sustain the Medicare program. APhA referred to pharmacists as a valuable, but often overlooked, member of the health care team and strongly urged for support of H.R. 592 and the companion legislation in the Senate, known as S. 314.
Congressman Kind, an original cosponsor of the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592), highlighted the many services pharmacists provide within their scope of practice beyond the safe distribution of medication.
“They conduct health and wellness screenings, manage chronic diseases, provide medication management, facilitate care transitions and administer immunizations,” Kind noted. “This legislation would allow the pharmacists serving medically underserved communities to be reimbursed for the services they provide.”
Similarly, Congressman Young shared his support for H.R. 592 and awareness of the increasingly important role that pharmacists play in the delivery of services, including key roles in new models of care beyond the traditional fee-for-service structure. “In addition to medication adherence services such as medication therapy management (MTM), pharmacists are capable of providing many other cost-saving services, subject to state scope of practice laws, including health tests, helping to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, and expanded immunization services,” he said.
Young added that the “lack of pharmacist recognition as a provider by third party payors, including Medicare and Medicaid, limits the number and types of services pharmacists can provide, even though fully qualified to do so. H.R. 592 will allow Medicare Part B to utilize pharmacists to their full capability.”
Congressman Young closed his letter with a key message: “This legislation would lead not only to reduced overall healthcare costs, but also to increased access to healthcare services and improved healthcare quality.”
“We are thankful that Representatives Young and Kind took the time to write statements in support for the roles that pharmacists play on the health care team,” said Thomas Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA, APhA Executive Vice President and CEO. “Millions of Americans lack access to health care and with nearly 86% of Americans living within five miles of a pharmacy, pharmacists are well positioned to help improve patient access and quality while decreasing costs.”