FTC Urged to Back Provider Status Legislation



May 8, 2014-- NACDS and a national coalition working to achieve “provider status” for pharmacists under Medicare Part B have asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to back legislation to this effect, as well as other policies that would help pharmacists practice at the top of their education level.

NACDS and the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition submitted separate yet complementary comments to the FTC as a follow-up to the Commission’s “Examining Healthcare Competition” workshop, which was held March 20-21 to study activities and trends that may affect competition in the evolving healthcare industry.

“Pharmacies remain committed to their valuable role in providing medications, fostering medication safety and effectiveness, and providing health and wellness services. In addition, innovative pharmacy services and other healthcare services available in accessible retail settings can do even more to improve patient health and wellness, often in collaboration with primary care physicians, nurses and other professionals,” NACDS wrote in its comments.

“NACDS supports efforts by the FTC to create a robust healthcare marketplace that advances patient choice and competition to improve the accessibility, quality and affordability of healthcare in America. To that end, NACDS asks FTC to support the removal of needless barriers to the effective functioning of innovative healthcare delivery for the patients we seek to serve; support fairer scope of practice, supervision and reimbursement laws across states to advance competition and patient choice; and support federal legislation that would designate pharmacists as healthcare providers under Medicare Part B, removing an unwarranted and harmful exclusionary, competition barrier.”

Meanwhile, the Coalition wrote in its comments, “A number of factors will combine to create excess demand and a shortage of primary healthcare providers in the near future. The factors include an aging population, a rise in chronic conditions, and policy changes such as those associated with the Affordable Care Act. Patient demand and the resulting problems associated with a lack of access to care are particularly acute in medically underserved areas. To address this increase in demand, all providers in the healthcare system should practice to the fullest extent allowed by their license.”

The FTC fosters competition in healthcare markets to benefit consumers through cost-containment, quality improvement and fostering innovation. The Commission views its role as an enforcer of laws to prevent entities from engaging in anticompetitive conduct that harms consumers; to advise market participants on compliance with antitrust laws; to develop research and reports on competition issues in healthcare; and to advise federal and state governments on competition issues in healthcare.

More information about the FTC’s engagement in healthcare competition is available on the FTC website.

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