In my conversations with pharmacists and pharmacy students, it seems there is very little disagreement that pharmacists should be recognized as health care providers and members of the health care team. Despite all the excellent materials provided by APhA, and ASHP for provider status advocacy, there still seems to be a fairly large knowledge gap when a few simple questions are asked about provider status, questions that will certainly be asked by anyone who is truly interested in learning more.
To help you be well prepared to answer these questions and advocate for provider status, we’ll be offering a series of blog posts on this topic. For the most part, I will be addressing pharmacist provider status as it relates to Medicare specifically in the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592 and S. 314).
Why do we need provider status?
To enable Medicare beneficiaries access to pharmacist-provided services under Medicare Part B in medically underserved areas and for pharmacists to be reimbursed for providing these services.
Will this expand the scope of practice for pharmacists?
No. The proposed legislation allows pharmacists to be reimbursed for supplying services that would otherwise be provided by physicians as long as such activity is permitted by the laws and regulations of the state in which the pharmacist practices.
How do I find out where these medically underserved areas are located?
This information can be found on the Health Resources and Services Administration website at http://muafind.hrsa.gov/, enter the state, click “find MUAs/MUPs” and to learn which service areas in which counties are considered medically underserved.
What is the name of the Provider Status federal legislation and what does it do?
The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592 and S. 314) is bipartisan legislation that will amend section 1861 (s) (2) of the Social Security Act to include pharmacists on the list of recognized healthcare providers.
What can I do to help in the passage of these bills?
Determine who your representative is in your voting district and then go to the Provider Status page on the ASHP website, click on “advocacy” and then “provider status.” On this page you will find “Bill Sponsors by State” where you can see which representatives and senator in your state are supporters of this legislation. If your representative is not a supporter, both the APhA and ASHP websites have “Take Action” links that will take you to a page where you can fill in the information required for official’s contact forms and either a message urging their support or thanking them for their support will be generated.
Where can I get more information about Provider Status?
APhA (pharmacist.com),ASHP, (ashp.org) and ASCP (ascp.com) all provide excellent resources on provider status. Value Pharmacists also will have additional information.
In following posts, we will look at some of the details of this legislation and more about provider status.