Following on the heels of the provider status bill that was reintroduced in the Senate on Jan. 12, members of the U.S House of Representatives swiftly reintroduced the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act with a total of 107 original cosponsors.
The House legislation, which aims to improve patient access to health care through pharmacists and their patient care services, has the same bill number (H.R. 592) as it did in the last Congress. The bill was introduced with bipartisan support with Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Tom Reed (R-NY), and Ron Kind (D-WI) as the legislation’s primary sponsors.
“Pharmacists play an important role in our rural communities, and our senior citizens should not have to travel for basic services when their neighborhood pharmacist is already licensed to help them,” said Rep. Guthrie. “By allowing Medicare to reimburse pharmacists, seniors will have more immediate access to health care in medically underserved areas. I was proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to help our Medicare patients.”
The companion legislation in the Senate (S. 109), sponsored by Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Susan Collins (R-ME), currently has the support of 26 cosponsors.
APhA continues to reach out to both new and returning members of Congress to educate them about the legislation. While most members of Congress who supported the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act have returned to the 115th Congress, there are 63 new members in both the House and Senate.
“APhA has already begun outreach to both new and returning members of Congress and is excited for the opportunity to build upon the momentum achieved over the last several years,” said Thomas E. Menighan, APhA Executive Vice President and CEO.