Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) recently visited a Hy-Vee pharmacy in Topeka, Kansas, where she discussed bipartisan legislation that would change the Medicare physician payment methodology and revise other policies—H.R. 2. Jenkins said at the time that passing the legislation would be a “huge win for the American people.” The legislation has since passed the House and Senate and is headed to President Obama, who is expected to sign it.
Hy-Vee Vice President of Governmental Affairs and Business Innovation Pat Hensley said the visit was a ‘direct result’ of following up with the congresswoman after meeting with her at NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill in March.
The bill will permanently repeal Medicare’s sustainable growth-rate formula for paying physicians and prevent a 21 percent cut in payments to doctors. The legislation represents a shift in reimbursing healthcare providers that is focused more on the quality of services provided rather than straight reimbursement.
An article in the Topeka Capital-Journal covered the congresswoman’s Hy-Vee tour, where the pharmacy team talked about vital pharmacy issues and the day-to-day interactions pharmacists have with patients, which improves their lives. Hy-Vee Vice President of Governmental Affairs and Business Innovation Pat Hensley said the visit was a “direct result” of following up with the congresswoman after meeting with her at NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill in March.
The advocacy event also spurred action on H.R. 592, which enables Medicare beneficiaries to access pharmacist-provided patient care services. In more than 460 congressional meetings during the event, participants urged Congress to support the provider status legislation, in addition to other pro-pharmacy priorities. A simultaneous Virtual Hill Day generated 2,000 letters to Congress also urging support for the legislation.
There are now 11 new cosponsors of the legislation: Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Judy Chu (D-CA), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), David Price (D-NC) and Jackie Speier (D-CA).
There are currently 94 cosponsors of the NACDS-backed, bipartisan legislation in the House and 10 cosponsors for similar provider status legislation, S. 314, in the Senate.
The ability to get things done in Washington can often seem elusive, but the stories advocates had to tell about the value of pharmacy in improving patient outcomes got Congress’s attention. Perseverance does pay off.