Government report on health reform says pharmacists should be paid for services
Calls on states to consider changes to scope-of-practice statutes
A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other government officials laid out recommendations for reforming the U.S. health care system that includes allowing pharmacists and other health care providers to practice at the top of their professional license and be paid directly for their services.
The report acknowledges that highly trained health professionals—like pharmacists—can safely and effectively provide certain services to patients, in turn giving patients better access to care and allowing the health care market to function more efficiently.
The recommendations laid out in the report call on states to consider changes to their scope-of-practice statutes to allow all health care providers to use their full skill set and training. The report also said states, along with the federal government, need to consider legislative and administrative proposals to allow for the direct payment of these services from non-physician providers.
APhA applauded the recommendations in the report. “For years, APhA has fought for the recognition of pharmacists as providers of quality patient care and the need to cover their services. We’re grateful our role in health care is being recognized as a part of the solution to help Americans lead healthier lives. Something our patients already know,” said APhA CEO Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA. APhA is still urging Congress to pass the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592 / S. 109), a bipartisan bill increasing medically underserved Medicare beneficiaries’ access to health care through pharmacist-provided services. “Our approach to expanded access and patient-centered, team-based care should be embraced by all,” said Menighan.
Some of the provisions in the new report could have a negative influence on patient choice and access to care, however, and APhA stated that it would like to work with the Trump administration on health care reform policies that balance patient access along with costs.
The report titled, Reforming American’s Healthcare System Through Choice and Competition, was authored by HHS Secretary Alex Azar, U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, and U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta.