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ASHP midyear update: Efforts on Capitol Hill are paying off.
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) has been working hard for its membership, which now has topped 40,000, and those efforts are paying off, according to ASHP President Christene Jolowsky.
At the 2014 ASHP Midyear meeting’s opening session in Anaheim, Calif., Jolowsky explained how big wins by pharmacy-friendly congressional candidates in this year’s mid-term elections place pharmacists in a good position to eventually achieve provider status.
“As of today, we have reached a critical milestone of 123 congressional co-sponsors of the provider status legislation, H.R. 4190, with bipartisan support. This shows that our efforts and your efforts to educate Congress about the critical role that pharmacists play in patient care is working,” she said.
Under H.R. 4190, Medicare beneficiaries will have access to pharmacist-provided ambulatory-based patient care services under Medicare Part B. If H.R. 4190 is enacted, these services would be reimbursed under Medicare Part B if they are provided to beneficiaries living in medically underserved communities. Reimbursement for pharmacy services would be approximately 85% of the physician fee schedule.
The ASHP-PAC, the association’s political action committee, supported candidates during the 2013-2014 election period who favored legislative efforts to expand the role of the pharmacist to include patient care roles. Contributions from ASHP-PAC also supported legislators who were members of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees and the Senate Finance, and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees. All of the candidates that ASHP-PAC supported were re-elected during the mid-term elections.
Jolowsky called on the 2014 Midyear attendees to focus on their congressional representatives to continue the momentum of support for H.R. 4190. “You need to contact your elected officials. We need you to tell them about the impact you have on your patients and how this could be improved if we are formally recognized as providers under Medicare Part B,” she said.
This year ASHP unveiled its new logo and tagline-pharmacists advancing healthcare. “This shows what an exciting time it is to be a pharmacist,” Jolowsky said. “I truly believe that this is the best time in history to be a pharmacist and an active member in ASHP.”