Current Issues in Health Care: Change to Benefit Patients and Pharmacists – A Four Part Series

US Constitution And Scales Of JusticeAs our healthcare system continues to evolve, pharmacy as it is practiced today is changing, and hopefully for the better. Here is the first of four topics (the first two being current legislation) that are in the “hot seat” as we round up the first half of 2014:

H.R. – 4190: The Push for Provider Status

Summary

This legislation would amend a portion of the Social Security Act to give pharmacists what is known as “Provider Status.” Specifically, this amends Medicare Part B to include pharmacists in the group of professionals that are reimbursed for professional services. The legislation focuses on Medicare beneficiaries in three separate regions as defined by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA): Medically Under-served Areas, Medically Under-served Populations, and Health Professional Shortage Areas 1.

Current Standing

Originally introduced in March of 2014 by a Republican congressman from Kentucky, this legislation now has 56 bipartisan co-sponsors 2. It is gaining support by the day as representatives of congress recognize the benefits this bill would provide. Along with having the most expensive health care system in the world, a recent study also finds that, compared to ten other industrialized and powerful countries, the United States has the worst health outcomes 3.

How are YOU, the patient, affected?

Pharmacists are often considered the most accessible healthcare providers. This legislation manages to further increase that patient access. Additionally, it will assist pharmacists in the provision of high quality and cost-effective services that are within the scope of their education. Both individual households and our government are looking for ways to decrease their healthcare expenditure; this amendment could be a starting point! Check and see at https://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/4190/cosponsors if your district’s congressman is a co-sponsor.

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