An article in The National Law Review asks a really good question: “Pharmacists: Aren’t You Really Providers Already?” It follows up with an excellent point: The shortage of healthcare providers exacerbated by the passage of the Affordable Care Act “calls for a reimagining of ways that non-physician providers can fill the care gap.”
… pharmacists lack provider status under federal law, but they are still providing services…
The article notes that pharmacists lack provider status under federal law, but they are still providing services because some states give pharmacists provider status in the context of state health and Medicaid programs.
The disparity in what is actually happening and what needs to happen is why NACDS-backed bipartisan legislation, H.R. 592, in the House and Senate would formally designate pharmacists as healthcare providers under Medicare Part B. The lack of pharmacist recognition as a provider by third party payers, including Medicare and Medicaid, has limited the number and types of services pharmacists can provide, even though they are fully qualified to deliver these services. The legislation currently has 107 cosponsors since it was introduced in January.
Establishing provider status in Medicare Part B for pharmacists, especially in medically-underserved communities, could not only increase access to healthcare services, but also lead to reduced overall healthcare costs and improved healthcare quality.