On July 6, representatives of ASHP and VSHP met with staff from Senator Mark Warner’s office to discuss Senate Bill S.1362 – The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act. Doug Huynh, the ASHP Federal Lobbyist, introduced the bi-partisan legislation that will amend the Social Security Act to include pharmacists on the list of recognized healthcare providers. Craig Kirkwood, Mark Hickman and Matt Jenkins, representing VSHP, provided more details about the legislation especially relative to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The bill would allow pharmacists to be reimbursed, similar to other non-physicians at 85% of the fee schedule, for certain healthcare services under Medicare Part B in medically underserved areas. While this bill does not change a pharmacist’s scope of practice, it will expand access to care for patients, especially elderly patients, given the availability and importance of pharmacists’ services as shown in the pandemic response. While the CBO has not scored this bill yet, ASHP has estimated that the bill will reduce healthcare expenditures $4 for every $1 spent on pharmacists’ clinical services.
The bill was introduced in the Senate by Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Robert Casey (D-PA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). A sister bill has been introduced in the House as H.R. 2759 by Representatives GK Butterfield (D-NC) and David McKinley (R-WV). The bill is not new – it was introduced in both the Senate and House in the 114th and 115th Congress. Each year the number of co-sponsors has increased.
You may support this bill by contacting your Senator and/or Representative and asking them to co-sponsor the legislation. Assistance is available https://ashsp.ac360.aristotleactioncenter.com/#/alertId/7a08b943-77c9-4b09-b500-17f965bbf41c/