Advocating for the future of our profession is one of the most important benefits APhA provides to our members. We recognize, however, that APhA doesn’t perform this critical task alone and all of the pharmacists and student pharmacists across the country who advocate for our profession are integral to achieving success. And we are thrilled that through our national Pharmacists Provide Care campaign, we’re seeing more and more involvement … and it’s making a real difference.
Sometimes the fruit of our advocacy efforts may take time to realize or isn’t easily visible. But today, I would like to highlight a success that isn’t hard to see. The New Mexico Pharmacists Association, student pharmacists from the University of New Mexico (UNM) College of Pharmacy, and many pharmacists from New Mexico have been working tirelessly to garner congressional support for the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act. Their hard work has paid off. Every single member of the New Mexico congressional delegation—Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Rep. Stevan Pearce (R-NM), and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) are now supporters of the federal legislation.
New Mexico is the first state for which the entire delegation supports the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592/S. 314). On May 8, as the commencement speaker at the UNM College of Pharmacy, I was privileged to offer congratulations in person. We congratulate all involved for writing letters, making calls, and having meetings with your Members of Congress to talk about this important issue.
The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act continues to gain momentum in Congress. In just 5 short months since being introduced, H.R. 592 already has more than 130 cosponsors in the House of Representatives, surpassing the amount of cosponsors provider status legislation had in the previous Congress (H.R. 4190). And our first-ever Senate bill, S. 314, has 16 cosponsors and counting.
If enacted, the bipartisan legislation would enable patient access to, and coverage for, Medicare Part B services provided by pharmacists in medically underserved communities, which would improve patient access to health care in those areas.
Why are cosponsors so important? The more cosponsors a bill has, the greater the chance that the bill will be voted on and subsequently signed into law. Legislators want to hear from you, their constituent, so help us keep the momentum going by urging your members of Congress to support provider status legislation!
We look forward to replicating this New Mexico milestone for many more states in the future! Help us add your state to the list.