Pharmacy's top priority: Medicare provider status recognition

Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 23, 2023, and in the U.S. Senate on July 25, 2023 the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act, would authorize pharmacists to provide care and receive reimbursement for pandemic-related services for our nation’s seniors. APhA and its members vigorously advocate for passage and enactment of the bill, which would grant pharmacists "provider status" under specific circumstances.

The legislation

For two years, the pandemic has demonstrated how essential pharmacists are in providing care and services—especially to patients in under-represented, underserved, and/or rural communities. In fact, pharmacists administered more COVID-19 vaccine doses than any other health care professional. The Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act (ECAPS), H.R. 1770, S. 2477 was introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S Senate this year. If passed, this legislation would enable Medicare patients to receive timely and consistent treatment from pharmacists for pandemic-related health services and would allow pharmacists to respond to ongoing and future public health threats to our nation. This bill establishes a federal reimbursement mechanism for pharmacists’ services under Medicare Part B, addresses existing limitations in our laws, and ensures patients can continue to access essential care and services provided by pharmacists, who are the most trusted and accessible health care professionals on whom entire communities have come to rely.

Read the legislation

APhA statement

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. 1770), which was introduced by Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE), Congressman Bradley Schneider (D-IL), Congressman Larry Bucshon (R-IN), and Congresswoman Doris Matui (D-CA).

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.

Read the APhA statement

Recognizing pharmacists as providers

Evidence shows that pharmacists make a significant impact on patients’ health outcomes and overall health and reduce health care costs. This legislation would align reimbursement with the services pharmacists are trained to provide and give underserved patients more access to crucial care.

Provider status legislation would

  • Add pharmacists as eligible providers for Medicare Part B beneficiaries of pharmacies and pharmacists’ services related to the COVID-19 pandemic and specific infectious diseases, such as testing (for COVID-19, flu, respiratory syncytial virus, and strep throat), treatment (for COVID-19, flu, and strep throat), and vaccinations (for COVID-19, flu, pneumonia, and hepatitis b);
  • Help prepare for future emergencies by creating a mechanism to establish Medicare coverage and payment for pharmacy- and pharmacist-provided services when there is a public health need, such as during a public health emergency or similar;
  • Be limited to state scope of practice or incident to physician’s services, or more broadly if provided under a PREP Act declaration; and
  • Enable pharmacists across the country to provide services to Medicare beneficiaries in order to address COVID-19 and other pressing health needs in all areas of the country.

Provider status legislation would not

  • Provide Medicare reimbursement for all services such as medication and chronic disease management, health and wellness screenings, and education;
  • Recognize pharmacists as health care providers for all Medicare patients;
  • Supersede state scope of practice laws; or
  • Replace our efforts to pass other provider status–related legislation, including the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act.

Take action now: be a provider status advocate

Contact Congress

Use APhA’s prewritten, editable advocacy alert to ask your U.S. Representative to cosponsor the legislation and ensure patients can receive care and treatment from pharmacists for pandemic-related health services.

Help APhA advocate today!

Meet with your legislators

Ask to meet virtually with your representative to explain the impact the bill can make on their constituents and why this issue is important to you.

How to Schedule an Appointment