Pharmacist provider status bill reintroduced in Senate as S. 109

The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (S. 109) was reintroduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday. The measure has the bipartisan original cosponsorship of more than 25% of the Senate, led by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Bob Casey (D-PA).

The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (S. 109) was reintroduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday. The measure has the bipartisan original cosponsorship of more than 25% of the Senate, led by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Bob Casey (D-PA). The bill would enable underserved Medicare patients to receive certain services from pharmacists—such as administering immunizations, conducting wellness or prevention screenings, and helping older adults take their medications correctly and as prescribed—in states where pharmacists already are allowed to administer the functions. "A lot of people in rural Iowa have easier access to a pharmacist than a doctor," Grassley noted. "Where that pharmacist is licensed to provide a service, Medicare ought to pay the pharmacist for it. That's what this bill does. It's good for pharmacists because they get paid for providing services to rural seniors. It's good for rural seniors because they keep access to their local pharmacist and don't have to go to the doctor for straightforward medication management." The legislation is expected to be reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives soon.