The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Board of Trustees has allocated $1.5 million to a long-range effort to ensure patients have access to pharmacists’ clinical services and pharmacists gain recognition as healthcare providers.
Pharmacists provide not only medication delivery but also medication monitoring, patient education, prevention, and chronic disease management. Studies show that when pharmacists are involved in these ways as a member of the healthcare team, patient outcomes and satisfaction rates improve and overall healthcare costs are reduced.
But, because pharmacists are often not recognized for the additional services they provide and are not reimbursed properly for them, pharmacists and patients both lose out on the benefits of those services.
The profession is coming together, though, to help achieve provider status. Through a new initiative, APhA is seeking to ensure that:
· Payers and policymakers give patients access to pharmacists’ clinical services and recognize pharmacists as healthcare providers;
· Patients have access to these services through Medicare/Medicaid, other federal and state health benefit programs, Accountable Care Organizations and Medical Homes, and/or private payers by either listing pharmacists as providers or properly valuing the services in payment models; and
· Every patient’s health benefit plan package includes the services as a core component.
“The APhA Board of Trustees is excited to commit to this multi-faceted approach to the value recognition of pharmacists’ clinical services,” said Steven T. Simenson, BSPharm, FAPhA, FACA, FACVP, APhA president-elect and chair of the Provider Status Task Force. “The ultimate goal [of the initiative] is a consensus-based approach for advocacy and legislative efforts, which increases our chances of increasing patient access to the clinical care services we can provide.”
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