On Sept. 23, ASHP met with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) to discuss the critical role of health-system pharmacists and steps that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can take to leverage pharmacists to support primary care teams, particularly in underserved communities. Points of emphasis included:
- Expand the Range of Services Pharmacists Can Provide: ASHP encouraged HHS to use its authority under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) to authorize pharmacists to provide additional primary care services nationwide – beyond COVID-19 -- including test-and-treat for flu, strep, and other infectious diseases within point of care tests, prescribing of hormonal contraceptives, ordering post-exposure emergency prophylaxis for HIV, providing access to medications for opioid use disorder, and prescribing smoking cessation aids.
- Address Lack of Federal Reimbursement for Pharmacist Services: ASHP asked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow physicians to bill for complex evaluation and management services, provided incident to the physician, by clinical pharmacists on their care team. HHS should also make permanent the temporary flexibility for virtual supervision of pharmacist services, and ask Congress to pass the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act (H.R. 7213) to allow CMS to pay pharmacists directly for providing clinical services to Medicare beneficiaries.
- Expand Pharmacy Residency Funding: Pharmacy residency programs feed a vital patient care pipeline. Due to scientific advancements and the evolution of care delivery models, pharmacy residencies are now essential to performing certain patient care services and are prerequisites for many specialty positions. ASHP urged CMS to support residency funding, ensuring that programs have the guidance and resources they need to succeed. Additionally, given the HHS’s interest in strengthening and expanding the healthcare workforce, ASHP asked the agency to fund PGY2 residencies to advance pharmacist expertise in specialties such as pediatrics, psychiatric pharmacy, infectious disease, and other areas.
ASHP will update members on these ongoing discussions with HHS as we continue to advocate for these critical advocacy priorities for our members and the patients they serve.