Making it official: Recognizing pharmacists as health care providers

Posted by Pharmacist on April 09, 2013

Clinical social workers, dieticians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives are all healthcare professions that are recognized by the Social Security Act, which means they can be paid by Medicare for their services. Despite the vital role they play in a patient’s well-being, pharmacists are excluded from this list; an act of Congress is required to change current laws. In December 2012 a St. John’s University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Steve Soman decided to bring attention to this oversight.

He created a petition on the White House We the People website; the petition needed 25,000 signatures to get an official review and response from the Obama administration, a goal that was reached in less than two weeks.

States such as Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, Vermont and North Carolina recognize pharmacists as health care providers, which allow them to be compensated by a third-party payer. And it seems more states may follow suit.

On March 13, 2013 California state senator Ed Hernandez introduced legislation to expand the use of pharmacists to meet community health care needs. California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) CEO Jon R. Roth says, “Acknowledging pharmacists as providers will allow them to provide expanded services to their patients while filling a void that is absolutely critical to ensuring that Californians who will receive insurance through the Medi-Cal program in 2014 have a place to access that care.”

According to a press release from CPhA, “studies and practice-based experience have shown that when pharmacists are involved in the provision of patient care services as members of the health care team, patient outcomes improve, patients report higher rates of satisfaction and overall health care costs are reduced.”

To see the petition visit:

Pharmacists as Providers White House Petition

 

 

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