COVID-19 May Lead to the Expansion of Practice Laws for Pharmacists Across the Country

Pharmacy Times spoke with Ron Lanton III, Esq, a regulatory and government affairs professional, about how COVID-19 could lead to more expanded practice laws for pharmacists across the country.

Pharmacy Times spoke with Ron Lanton III, Esq, a regulatory and government affairs professional, about how the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) could lead to more expanded practice laws for pharmacists across the country.

Lanton noted that actions such as clinical laboratory improvement amendment (CLIA) waivers and additional steps by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have been encouraging and have allowed pharmacists to be more involved in the pandemic response while beginning to get paid for these services.

“I think that was one of those tools that just wasn’t there before because of where we are, and now it’s there,” Lanton said. “It’s been very encouraging to have HHS and CMS there trying to make sure that this happens for pharmacy.”

Lanton added that although pharmacists have been discussing their value for a long time, the pandemic has pushed that knowledge into the forefront of patients’ and other health care professionals’ minds.

He encouraged pharmacists to follow news from CMS closely, because new policies and announcements are coming out almost daily. The ongoing stimulus packages passed by Congress may also offer a chance for pharmacists to push the field forward, by lobbying for provider status, personal protective equipment, and direct and indirect remuneration fee relief as part of the packages.