WASHINGTON – Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bob Casey
(D-Penn.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) today re-introduced bipartisan legislation
encouraging pharmacists to serve older Americans in communities lacking easy
access to doctors or where pharmacists are able to provide certain basic
“A lot of people in rural Iowa have
easier access to a pharmacist than a doctor. Where that pharmacist is licensed
to provide a service, Medicare ought to pay the pharmacist for it. That’s
what this bill does. It’s good for pharmacists because they get paid for
providing services to rural seniors. And it’s good for rural seniors because
they keep access to their local pharmacist and don’t have to go to the doctor
for straightforward medication management,” Grassley said.
“The pandemic has underscored the plight
of underserved older Americans, including those living in rural communities.
Rural older adults are at increased risk for many chronic diseases and yet many
still face barriers in accessing basic health care services. This important
legislation would allow pharmacists to support the health needs of seniors in
rural communities by increasing access to routine care, like wellness checks
and management of chronic diseases,” Casey
“Seniors in rural Ohio shouldn’t have to travel long
distances to see their doctor for a vaccine when the pharmacist down the street
can offer the same services. We can better serve our seniors and taxpayers by
cutting through the red tape and giving seniors more choice on where they go
for care,” Brown said.
The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas
Enhancement Act of 2021 encourages pharmacists to offer health care
services such as health and wellness screenings, immunizations and diabetes
management by authorizing Medicare payments for those services where
pharmacists are already licensed under state law to provide them. Many states
already allow pharmacists to provide these services but there currently is no
way for pharmacists to receive Medicare reimbursement for providing them.
of the bill include the Iowa Pharmacy Association, the American Pharmacists
Association and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
have been essential in helping ensure patients have convenient access to health
services during the pandemic. Recognizing pharmacists as providers under
Medicare is a crucial next step in helping to expand the care and service available
to patients from their local pharmacist,” said
Kate Gainer, Executive Vice President & CEO of the Iowa Pharmacy
ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has further illustrated how difficult it is for some
patients living in medically underserved communities to access care and achieve
optimal medication therapy outcomes. This legislation recognizes that
pharmacists can play an integral role in addressing these longstanding
disparities and helps ensure that our most vulnerable patients can access the
care they need,” said Paul W Abramowitz,
CEO of American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
most states, pharmacists already provide a wide range of patient care services,
such as immunizations, blood pressure and cholesterol monitoring, diabetes
care, and smoking cessation services. This legislation would provide Medicare
beneficiaries in underserved areas with access to pharmacists who can provide
these services on a regular basis. This will keep them healthier and control
health care costs,” the American
Pharmacists Association said.
of the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved
Areas Enhancement Act of 2021
is available HERE
was introduced in the House by Representatives G.K. Butterfield (D, NC-1) and David
McKinley (R, WV-1).