Election Outcomes Strengthen Support for Pharmacist Provider Status

The vast majority of the 116 US Representatives who cosponsored legislation supporting provider status for pharmacists were reelected to Congress yesterday, according to a Pharmacy Times analysis of midterm election results.

The vast majority of the 116 US Representatives who cosponsored legislation supporting provider status for pharmacists were reelected to Congress yesterday, according to a Pharmacy Times analysis of midterm election results.

Among Tuesday’s winners were Representative Brett Guthrie (R-KY), who introduced the bill in the House of Representatives on March 11, 2014, and Representative Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-GA), who became the only pharmacist currently elected to Congress.

In total, 95 cosponsors of the bipartisan legislation won reelections to the House, not including the unofficial win for Representative Michael Honda (D-CA) and unofficial tie for Representative Ron Barber (D-AZ). An additional 10 cosponsors did not appear on the November 4, 2014, ballot.

“Our champions were all reelected,” Michael Spira, senior lobbyist for the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), told Pharmacy Today. “Our plan will not change. We will work with our lead sponsors in the House to have the bill reintroduced and will continue to work with a group of bipartisan senators to have a companion bill introduced early next year.”

If that proposed legislation becomes law, it will provide coverage of pharmacists’ patient care services under the Medicare program, which will grant pharmacists greater federal recognition as members of the health care team.

“With a pharmacist in Congress, APhA is confident that our nation’s health care policy will turn toward providing consumers with access and coverage for pharmacists’ patient care services.” APhA Executive Vice President and CEO Thomas E. Menighan said in a statement. “APhA and pharmacists nationwide are excited to have a voice in Congress to advocate for the profession and our patients.”

Eight cosponsors of the provider status bill lost their races for the House, not including 2 unofficial losses for Representative Ami Bera (D-CA) and Representative Lee Terry (R-NE).