May 11, 2023 | Category: Press Releases
In the Absence of Congressional Action, Seniors Will Be Left Without Coverage for Essential Pharmacist Services for COVID-19, Flu & Other Infectious Diseases
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 11, 2023) – The Future of Pharmacy Care Coalition, a group representing pharmacists and community pharmacies of all sizes serving millions of patients across the U.S., issued the following statement in response to the expiration of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19 on May 11, 2023:
“The Future of Pharmacy Care Coalition urges the 118th Congress to act swiftly to enact the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act (H.R. 1770) to ensure Medicare beneficiaries maintain access to essential services provided by pharmacists beyond the Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19. While Americans with private insurance, Medicaid beneficiaries, federal employees, and the uninsured may be covered when the PHE for COVID-19 expires, Medicare beneficiaries across the country, the population most vulnerable to COVID-19, flu, and other respiratory conditions, will be left without coverage for services provided by pharmacists on which they have come to rely on for the past three years if Congress doesn’t advance this bipartisan legislation (H.R. 1770).”
“The Future of Pharmacy Care Coalition stands ready to work with Congress to advance H.R. 1770, which creates Medicare Part B direct reimbursement mechanisms for pharmacists’ services related to COVID-19, influenza, strep throat, and RSV. This legislation would ensure vulnerable senior communities in rural and medically underserved areas can continue to depend on pharmacists to access critical care and services where no other options may exist. Only Congress can ensure Medicare beneficiary coverage of pharmacist services, particularly for seniors in rural and underserved communities.”
By the Numbers: The Urgent Need to Ensure Patient Access to Pharmacist Care
- $450 Billion in Cost Savings & 1 Million Deaths Averts. By conservative estimates, the 350 million clinical interventions to approximately 150 million people that pharmacists have provided during the pandemic averted over 1 million COVID-19 deaths, 8 million hospitalizations, and $450 billion in health care costs.
- Pharmacists Are Critical To Address Health Care Workforce Shortages. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) estimates there will be a shortage of 23,650 primary care physicians by 2025. Two thirds of primary care shortage areas are in rural communities, and 130 hospitals in rural areas closed in the last ten years. Nine of ten Americans live within 5 miles of a pharmacy, making pharmacists the most accessible healthcare professionals in the country.
- Nearly 200 Groups Support H.R. 1770. More than 190 organizations, including rural and senior advocacy groups, physician and provider groups, patient advocacy organizations, pharmacists, and health systems, support H.R. 1770.
About Future of Pharmacy Care Coalition
The Future of Pharmacy Care Coalition is a group representing pharmacists and community pharmacies of all sizes serving millions of patients daily across the U.S. Coalition members supporting the legislation include the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), Abbott, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, CVS Health, Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Health Mart, Kroger, McKesson, Medicine Shoppe, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), Walgreens, and Walmart.