Pharmacists are the first and most accessible health care provider and play a front-line role to deliver services to patients to protect them from COVID-19 and other health complications.
The pandemic reinforced how essential pharmacists are to our nation’s public health response. Pharmacists have administered over 301 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, administered over 42 million COVID-19 tests, and continuously mobilized to reach and care for vulnerable senior communities, rural Americans, and those in medically underserved areas.
Unfortunately, pharmacists continue to operate under a fragile foundation of temporary authorities that were put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19 and uncertainty surrounding the future of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act threatens patient access to pharmacist care for millions of America’s seniors.
Congress must enact legislation to provide payment for essential pharmacist services under Medicare Part B and ensure pharmacists can continue to protect seniors from the threat of COVID-19, influenza, and other infectious diseases. While Americans with private insurance, Medicaid beneficiaries, and even federal employees may be covered, America’s seniors will be left behind if Congress doesn’t act to ensure access to essential pharmacist services in Medicare.
Pharmacists in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program alone have administered 301.1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses as of March 9, 2023.
Congress must act swiftly to protect the front-line role pharmacists play to deliver essential care and services to America’s seniors to protect vulnerable patient communities, strengthen our nation’s public health response, and better prepare for future infectious disease threats.
©2023 Future of Pharmacy Care Coalition