WASHINGTON, D.C.—To ensure Medicare patients can continue to access essential care and services provided by pharmacists, the American Pharmacists Association, a lead partner in the Future of Pharmacy Care Coalition, strongly supports the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act (ECAPS). H.R. 7213, which was introduced by Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI), Congressman David B. McKinley (R-WV), Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), and Congressman Buddy Carter (R-GA).
This legislation will ensure patients continue to have access to essential pandemic and pandemic-related care services provided by pharmacists, including services to keep communities safe from COVID-19 and future public health crises.
“During the pandemic, it is clear that pharmacists, as accessible health care professionals for COVID-19 testing, treatment, and immunization, stepped up to provide critical care,” said Scott Knoer, MS, PharmD, FASHP, APhA executive vice president and CEO. “This legislation will cement pharmacists’ role in delivering this essential care after the pandemic and in future public health emergencies.”
According to CDC, pharmacists administered more than 229 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in the U.S. as of February 9, 2022. The proposed bill underscores the importance of pharmacists’ services related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other illnesses, including
- Testing for COVID-19, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and strep throat
- Treatment of COVID-19, influenza, and strep throat
- Vaccinations for COVID-19 and influenza
Provisions of ECAPS also protect patients by ensuring pharmacists can continue to safeguard our nation’s communities against future public health threats. This legislation also establishes Medicare coverage and payment for new pharmacy- and pharmacist-provided services in the case of public health emergencies as determined by HHS.
Additionally, pharmacists are often the first line of defense for rural Americans. According to the U.S. Board of Labor Statistics, 55 percent of pharmacists work in a community-based setting, and 45 percent of pharmacy COVID-19 vaccination sites were reported to be in areas with moderate to severe social vulnerability.
“Pharmacists have been essential providers in rural and underserved communities during this pandemic, providing essential care and services where they are the only accessible health care provider,” said Theresa Tolle, BSPharm, FAPhA, and APhA president, 2022–2023. “This legislation will ensure that millions of patients in communities across the country will continue to receive health care services from pharmacists, alleviating gaps in patient care and advancing health equity.”
Future of Pharmacy Care Coalition members joining APhA in supporting this legislation include
- American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
- Cardinal Health
- CVS Health
- Good Neighbor Pharmacy
- Health Mart
- National Association of Chain Drug Stores
We need your help. The moment to act is now!
- Contact your elected representatives to express your support for our profession and ask them to co-sponsor the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act (ECAPS) by clicking here.
- Learn more about this legislation—what it would and would not do by visiting APhA's pharmacist.com Advocacy web page.
- Follow and engage socially with APhA and the Coalition. Share your support for the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act (ECAPS) on social media.
APhA is the only organization advancing the entire pharmacy profession. Our expert staff and strong volunteer leadership, including many experienced pharmacists, allow us to deliver vital leadership to help pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians find success and satisfaction in their work and advocate for changes that benefit them, their patients, and their communities. For more information, please visit www.pharmacist.com.
About the Future of Pharmacy Care Coalition
The Future of Pharmacy Care Coalition comprises American health care companies and professional associations that together provide care for hundreds of millions of patients across America’s communities and represent pharmacists and community pharmacies across the U.S. Visit www.pharmacycare.org.
Note: The unofficial full text of the ECAPS legislation can be found here. This press release will be revised with a link to the official legislation once made available by Congress.