Brown, Colleagues Seek Clarity For Pharmacists Providing Essential Health Care Services To Older Ohioans

Senators Are Asking CMS to Provide Clear Guidance So Pharmacists Can Continue Effectively Serving Older Ohioans in Rural and Underserved Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bob Casey (D-PA), John Barrasso (R-WY) and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging the agency to provide clear guidance on ways the Agency will support pharmacists who provide essential services such as vaccinations to Medicare beneficiaries in their community once the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) designation ends.
“The pandemic has confirmed the importance of ensuring continued access to local pharmacists and we have long supported improving patient access to pharmacy services. This includes changing Medicare policy so pharmacists can receive reimbursement for additional health care services authorized under state law. We appreciate your attention to this matter as we seek to ensure pharmacists can continue to provide important medical services that keep their communities healthy,” the senators wrote.
The federal government’s COVID-19 response allowed pharmacists to serve the Medicare population through testing, vaccine administration and other services authorized under the PHE declaration. For example, through the Federal Pharmacy Retail Program, pharmacists opened more than 10,000 free testing sites and administered nearly 230 million vaccine doses. As stated in the letter, research suggests many independent pharmacies reach our most vulnerable and underserved communities.
In the letter, Brown and his colleagues also reiterate their commitment to passing bipartisan legislation to improve future access to certain services. Brown, Grassley, and Casey are also working to pass their bipartisan Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act. This legislation encourages pharmacists to serve older Americans in communities lacking easy access to doctors or where pharmacists are able to provide certain basic medical services.
Read the fuller letter by clicking HERE.