Provider status legislation reintroduced: Your voice matters
The official renewal of our untiring quest for pharmacist provider status recognition in the 115th Congress has begun: the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592/S. 109) has been reintroduced in the House with 107 cosponsors and Senate with 26 cosponsors out of the gate. The bill will enable Medicare Part B beneficiaries to access pharmacists’ services provided in medically underserved communities.
A big thank you to the legislation’s primary sponsors in the House—Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Tom Reed (R-NY), and Ron Kind (D-WI)—and the Senate—Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
As you know, passing this legislation is our top priority at APhA, and we’re totally committed to achieving access and coverage for those who need pharmacists most: America’s medically underserved. To gain pharmacist provider status in Medicare, we need your help! Last year, our members led the way in grassroots engagement by writing more than 42,000 letters to Congress. This year, we need to double that number. If you are reading this now, write three letters: one to your U.S. representative to support H.R. 592 and two to each of your U.S. senators to support S. 109.
Let’s let our patients know we support them. And let’s make sure Congress clarifies in Medicare that we are essential to the health care team. OF COURSE pharmacists should be included as providers. The health care team relies on effective medication use, and that means including pharmacists as essential members of the team.
Here are some actions you can take to move this legislation forward.
- Communicate with and reach out to your Members of Congress. Visit www.pharmacistsprovidecare.com and use the letter-writing tools to contact your elected officials. The letter-writing tool is tailored to your ZIP code, automatically acknowledging and thanking recipients if they had signed on as cosponsors last session. Visit http://cqrcengage.com/aphanet/advocate to identify your Members of Congress and obtain their contact information. Write letters, call, arrange a visit, and invite them to your pharmacy to see firsthand the work you do for your patients and your community. If they signed on as a cosponsor in the 114th Congress, thank them for their support and ask them to do the same in the new session. Remind them of their bill number – House is H.R. 592 and Senate is S. 109.
- Talk with your patients and our allies in health care about the bills and how passage will improve outcomes, save costs to the health care system, and keep communities healthy. Encourage them to reach out to their legislators, too.
- Stay connected. Check back with www.pharmacist.com and www.pharmacistsprovidecare.com to keep on top of the latest news about the progress of the legislation.
Let’s finish what we’ve started. Your voice matters. Use it.