Provider Status Update

Pharmacy Times Health Systems Edition, March 2016, Volume 5, Issue 2

The House of Representatives, and eventually the Senate, are expected to pass bill HR 592 and its companion bill, S 314, within the next 2 years.

The House of Representatives, and eventually the Senate, are expected to pass bill HR 592 and its companion bill, S 314, within the next 2 years. Last year, the campaign to support the bills generated strong bipartisan support.

Passage of the bills would allow patients access to, and coverage for, Medicare Part B services by statelicensed pharmacists in medically underserved communities. It is predicted that this would allow immediate billing of medication therapy management (MTM) by pharmacists, prompting most medical practices to require MTM and, in turn, ensure better medication adherence and patient outcomes. The legislation supports having pharmacists recognized as providers by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and it is hoped that commercial payers will also come on board.

Passage of the bills may also open new opportunities for pharmacists to practice in current environments and in new practice areas, serving as an incentive to seek additional professional training, residencies, and board certifications.

As the only pharmacist serving in Congress, US Representative Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA) is a critical leader of efforts to pass federal legislation pertinent to pharmacists. Pharmacy Times recently spoke with the first-term US Congressman, House Community Pharmacy Caucus co-chair, and Carter’s Pharmacy, Inc, owner about HR 592. (For the full interview, see “Q&A with US Representative Buddy Carter, the Only Pharmacist in Congress” on pharmacytimes.com.)

“This legislation [HR 592] is paramount to the advancement of pharmacies and pharmacists,” said Rep. Carter. “The current pharmacy practice is light years ahead of what the practice was when I was going through school. Pharmacists now know more about clinical education for patients than ever before.”

Rep. Carter is working with US Representative Brett Guthrie (R-KY) to garner additional co-sponsors and ensure that the Energy and Commerce Committee brings the bill up for debate. “We are garnering much support for this bill, with over 200 sponsors so far. The sooner we can get this bill to the House Floor, the sooner patients will be able to take full advantage of all the important skills pharmacists have today.”