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Published on Wednesday, July 26, 2023

APhA applauds introduction of Senate legislation to ensure senior access to prompt pharmacist care and services

WASHINGTON, DC—This week, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Senator John Thune (R-SD) introduced S. 2477, the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act (ECAPS), bipartisan legislation that would ensure Medicare beneficiaries can continue to receive prompt care and services from pharmacists to prevent, diagnose, and treat common infectious diseases. S. 2477 would establish Medicare Part B direct reimbursement for essential pharmacist services for COVID-19, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and strep throat.

S. 2477 is companion legislation to H.R. 1770, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in March 2023 by Representatives Adrian Smith (R-NE), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Larry Bucshon (R-IN), Doris Matsui (D-CA), and pharmacist Representatives Buddy Carter (R-GA) and Diana Harshbarger (R-TN). More than 55 bipartisan members of Congress have cosponsored H.R. 1770, recognizing the urgent need to ensure seniors in rural and underserved communities across the country maintain access to pharmacist care. More than 190 organizations, including rural and senior advocacy groups, physician and provider groups, patient advocacy organizations, pharmacists, and health systems, support the legislation.

S. 2477 would ensure prompt and continued access to essential pharmacist services for seniors and rural communities, including

  • Testing: COVID-19, influenza, RSV, and strep throat
  • Treatment: COVID-19, influenza, strep throat, and RSV
  • Vaccination: COVID-19, influenza, pneumococcal, and hepatitis B

“APhA applauds Senators Thune and Warner for their leadership in the Senate on this issue,” said Michael D. Hogue, PharmD, FAPhA, FNAP, FFIP, executive vice president and CEO of APhA. “This bill is an important step towards ensuring seniors, especially those in rural areas, maintain access to essential pharmacist services. In many rural communities, pharmacists are the only accessible health care provider and play a critical role in delivering patient services. This bill not only continues that access but will also help improve patient outcomes and reduce hospitalizations and remove unnecessary costs throughout the health care system. Congress must act or risk patients being left without that critical access.”

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Contact: Ross Hemminger
Rhemminger@aphanet.org

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