Several medicine organizations, involving the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), are pressing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to recognize pharmacist-provided care services.
In reply to President Trump’s Executive Order (EO) on Protecting and Improving Medicare for Our Nation’s Seniors, the corporations highlighted the critical role that pharmacologists play in regular care and results when combined into the health care team.
On October 3, 2019, President Trump signed the EO to “preserve and enhance Medicare by making on those features of the program that work well, including the market-based strategies in the current scheme.”
Building Recipient Access
According to ASHP, the broad focus of the EO is on increasing access to Medicare assistance by overcoming regulatory barriers and building recipient access and choice. This introduces a provision to remove administrative barriers that “limit experts from practicing at the top of their business.” However, ASHP noted that the EO language is vague, and it is unclear how it will be performed by the Department of Health and Human Services.
In reply to the EO, CMS sought input from stakeholders on reducing specific regulations that limit health care professionals from training at the top of their licenses. NCPA submitted observations to CMS and signed on to joint drugstore comments, which included other arrangements such as ASHP, American Pharmacists Association, and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.
In its submission to CMS, NCPA supported the idea put forth in the EO and argued for the acceptance of the burdensome requirements that also limit druggists.
“Like other medical services, the pharmacy business has evolved from a dispensing and product reimbursement-based attention to a profession with the training and patient associations to provide outcomes-based services and engage in care coordination efforts,” NCPA wrote in the remarks.
Reducing The Barriers
NCPA asked the agency to “consider how to include highly qualified providers like pharmacists better.”
To do this, NCPA offered general regulatory action tips:
- Leverage pharmacologists’ expertise broadly under Medicare
- Expand service models utilizing pharmacist-provided patent care settings using CMS Innovation Center data
- Attribute and recognize the contributions of apothecaries to the health outcomes of Medicare recipients
- Perform a general direction basis versus direction for services delivered by highly trained pharmacists
In a statement, Ronna B. Hauser, vice president of policy and management affairs operations, NCPA, stated, “Community pharmacologists are among American’s most accessible health care providers, understanding complex sufferers on average of 35 times each year.
We urge policymakers to work toward reducing barriers that limit additional patient way to pharmacist-provided care assistance such as ordering to treat strep or flu, smoking cessation and counseling services when distributing naloxone, and facilitate pharmacists’ inclusion on patient care teams in value-based delivery models.”
All In All
In the joint comments submission, the drugstore organizations noted, “When pharmacists partner with physicians and other health care experts, they streamline and increase outcomes, but regulations and policies that lag behind state scope of practice laws add extra barriers that limit patient access to care.”