The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) is calling upon the federal Coronavirus Task Force to make more extensive use of pharmacologists in opposing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) fit. In a letter addressed to Vice President Mike Pence, the APhA asked changing or temporarily waiving certain Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program terms outlined in Section 1135 of the Social Security Act to expand pharmacologists’ authority in returning to COVID-19.
“Pharmacologists are well-positioned to give information and cultural resources related to coronavirus to the people. We can do more,” states the letter, endorsed by APhA Executive Vice President and CEO Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA. “America’s pharmacologists stand ready and able to give the patient care services needed to help answer the public health needs generated by the spread of the coronavirus.”
By Wednesday afternoon, APhA officials had not experienced an answer from the task force. Ilisa Bernstein, PharmD, JD, FAPhA, senior vice president, pharmacy system, and management affairs for APhA, communicated the organization’s failure.
“Pharmacologists are front-line health care providers and friendly, trained, and ready to do more to help sufferers, but [we] need the federal government and states to implement additional authorities and the removal of barriers to allow us to do more. More information from the public health officials is always welcome as this pandemic and health care answer is constantly growing,” stated Bernstein.
The letter to Pence proposed change to Section 1135 that would grant pharmacologists the authority to help ensure adequate health care items and services are made accessible to people in need who are registered in Social Security Act programs. Additionally, health care providers offering services in good faith would be paid and exempted from sanctions.
In some states, pharmacologists already have authority in conducting specific tests, such as influenza and strep throat, and many medical experts are administering vaccinations. APhA also noted in the letter that pharmacies are preparing to apply COVID-19 testing. Although a COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available to the public, a clinical trial is underway in Washington state.
The letter has four special applications for federal action. They combine:
- Allow pharmacologists to administer COVID-19 tests as a rapid symptomatic analysis
Pharmacologists could be used to obtain samples, submit them to certified labs, interpret results, and deliver them to patients, make referrals, and guide sufferers on overriding methods, as well as critical next steps. Pharmacologists could also evaluate patients, government testing, interpret the events, and implement available treatment or referrals, according to CDC leadership.
- Allow all drugstores to receive a certificate of waiver and to offer the COVID-19 test as a clinical laboratory development measures (CLIA)-waived point-of-care (POC) test
“Moreover, under Medicare, a drugstore may possess a CLIA Certificate of Waiver so that they may increase patient access to CLIA-waived tests and promote public health,” the letter states.
According to APhA, giving the COVID-19 test as a CLIA-waived, POC testing would assist the health care system in triaging sufferers and in getting employment. The identification of sufferers with COVID-19 is developed by testing sufferers without a primary care provider and those screened outside of regular clinic hours of operation. In this regard, pharmacologists can serve a vital role in fighting COVID-19.
- Understand and use pharmacologists as able vaccine providers for the COVID-19 vaccine when it displays possible
Pharmacologists are already performing a critical role in improving vaccination rates for the disease, according to the APhA. The group is asking that the task force encourage and work with states to remove barriers to pharmacists and other health care experts to determine a COVID-19 vaccine, which is still being produced.
The letter to Pence cites an extra 4.1 million adults treated in 2013 due to states allowing pharmacologists to administer the flu vaccine. Those 4.1 million treatments ended in 81,000-134,000 fewer influenza viruses. The odds that an adult would receive a flu vaccine increased by 7.8% in states that provided pharmacists to immunize sufferers.
To Sum Up
The COVID-19 has still a huge danger, yet, if we are going to take care of each other and remember that every single day we are fighting with such a virus, it will definitely disappear.