Pharmacist Provider Status Bill Update

A status report of the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act.

Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act

HR.592 introduced by US Rep. Brett Guthrie and S.314 introduced by US Sen. Chuck Grassley:

  • Formally recognizes pharmacists as health care providers under Medicare Part B
  • Follows states’ scope of practice for all licensed pharmacists
  • Serves patients in medically underserved areas (73 of Arkansas’s 75 counties count as “underserved”)

Hurdles to Passage

  • Cost of implementing the bill has not yet been released by the Congressional Budget Office
  • Poor understanding of “pharmacist services” and the ways pharmacists provide value
  • Bill needs 230 cosponsors (22 sponsors away) from moving forward in the US House of Representatives
  • There is a lot of room for more pharmacy advocates. Only 7500 of the nation's estimated 290,000 pharmacists have sent letters to Congress in support of the bill.

Future Hurdles

  • Studies showing cost versus savings of pharmacists being formally recognized as providers
  • Copays/medical coding issues
  • Documentation practice standardization
  • Billing issues
  • Tracking pharmacist readiness
  • Workflow issues

What Pharmacists Can Do Today

  • Sign up for the Pharmacists Provide Care Coalition Newsletter
  • Send a quick “Thank You” or “Please Support” email to your Representatives and Senators.
  • Spread the word on social media and include patient-focused messaging

Key Takeaways

  • More co-sponsors are needed to get the bill passed by Congress in its current session.
  • The bill should be “scored” by the Congressional Budget Office in the coming weeks or months.
  • The bill does not grant prescriptive authority unless it is already in a state’s scope of practice for pharmacists.
  • The bill only pertains to pharmacists being recognized as providers under Medicare Part B.