October 20, 2016
Provider status is increasingly gaining traction for pharmacists.
The role of the pharmacist has continued to expand in recent years. It’s no longer solely about dispensing prescriptions. Pharmacists give immunizations. They counsel patients on health and wellness. In many states, pharmacists are even authorized to prescribe certain medications, like birth control and naloxone, an opioid overdose-reversal drug.
Your own independent community pharmacy may have already adopted patient care services like vaccinations, medication adherence services and smoking cessation programs to provide unique offerings for patients and better serve your community.
Pharmacists deserve to gain recognition as providers. Improved patient outcomes, lower costs and higher rates of satisfaction are reported when pharmacists have increased involvement with the patient, according to the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).
The future is looking bright for pharmacy. To help further advance your career, follow these tips to propel the provider status movement forward.
Start by learning about the legislation that currently promotes provider status and the legislation that influence how you provide care to patients.
Currently, pharmacists—and the patient care services they provide—are not included in specific areas of the Social Security Act (SSA). The SSA is what determines eligibility for certain health care programs, like Medicare Part B. Both H.R.592 and S.314 are important legislative initiatives to know, as they’re working to amend the SSA to include pharmacist services.
Another way to stay up-to-date on pharmacist provider status is by following the work of organizations that support pharmacists’ provider status, such as your state pharmacy association, APhA and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).
To further advance the pharmacy profession, you have to change the incorrect notion that pharmacists simply count pills. Increasing patients’ access to pharmacist-provided services will help counter the physician shortage, lower health care costs and improve patient care.
Become a spokesperson for your pharmacy—and for provider status—by volunteering in your local community and promoting the unique service offerings your pharmacy provides.
Even posting on your pharmacy’s social media pages can help inform others about everything pharmacists do for their patients. Use the hashtag #ProviderStatus to stay connected with the national campaign.
Your pharmacy may already have partnerships with local physicians, but there are additional partnerships you might be missing out on: with your elected officials.
Getting to know your elected officials can help benefit your pharmacy in many ways. State representatives can be your pharmacy’s biggest allies. And, when it comes to legislation related to provider status, you’ll want to have them on your side.
The APhA recommends several ways pharmacists can get involved with their legislators including:
Advocating for your business is imperative for the advancement of your profession.
The campaign is currently working to support H.R.4190, a bill that would amend the SSA to cover pharmacists’ patient care services in Medicare Part B for patients in rural, medically underserved areas.
Securing provider status for pharmacists will allow you to fully utilize your training, expand your business and gain recognition as a needed health care professional. Join the push for provider status today at pharmacistsprovidecare.com.