Senator Grassley Reintroduces Provider Status Bill
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has introduced bipartisan legislation to provide coverage under the Medicare program of pharmacist services in medically underserved areas. If passed, pharmacists would be able to perform and bill for patient services within their state's scope of practice in health-professional shortage areas.
On Monday, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), along with Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), introduced bipartisan legislation to provide coverage under the Medicare program of pharmacist services in medically underserved areas. If passed, pharmacists would be able to perform and bill for patient services within their state's scope of practice in health-professional shortage areas.
Prior iterations of the bill garnered wide bipartisan, with 55 cosponsors in the Senate. A House version has also been introduced by Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and David McKinley (R-WV).
As summarized, “This bill amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to provide for Medicare coverage and payment with respect to certain pharmacist services that: (1) are furnished by a pharmacist in a health-professional shortage area, and (2) would otherwise be covered under Medicare if furnished by a physician.”
While this bill distinctly affects pharmacies located in health-professional shortage areas, this is a significant portion of the state. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), 43% of Iowa is classified as rural. In addition, this bill is a step towards obtaining provider status for pharmacists practicing in all locations, not limited to those in health-professional shortage areas.
Iowa Pharmacy Association's Executive Vice President & CEO, Kate Gainer, stated, “Senator Grassley's support and leadership on this bill have been crucial over the past few years to help expand access for Iowans to critical health services. The critical role pharmacists have played throughout the COVID-19 pandemic emphasizes the importance in recognizing pharmacists as providers under Medicare.”
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