Brown and colleagues seek clarity for pharmacists providing critical healthcare services to Ohio seniors

WASHINGTON, DC – United States Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bob Casey (D-PA), John Barrasso (R-WY) and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging the agency to provide clear guidance on how the Agency will support pharmacists who provide essential services such as immunizations to Medicare beneficiaries in their community once designation of Public Health Emergency (PHE) COVID-19 is coming to an end.

“The pandemic has confirmed the importance of ensuring continued access to local pharmacists and we have long supported improving patient access to pharmacy services. This includes changing Medicare policy so that pharmacists can receive reimbursement for supplemental health care services authorized by state law. We appreciate your attention to this matter as we seek to ensure that pharmacists can continue to provide important medical services that keep their communities healthy,” wrote the senators.

The federal government’s COVID-19 response has enabled pharmacists to serve the Medicare population through testing, vaccine administration, and other services authorized under the PHE declaration. For example, through the Federal Pharmacy Retail Program, pharmacists opened more than 10,000 free testing sites and administered nearly 230 million doses of vaccines. As noted in the letter, research suggests that many independent pharmacies are reaching our most vulnerable and underserved communities.

In the letter, Brown and his colleagues also reiterate their commitment to pass bipartisan legislation to improve future access to certain services. Brown, Grassley and Casey are also working to pass their bipartisan Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Improvement Act. This legislation encourages pharmacists to serve older Americans in communities that do not have ready access to physicians or where pharmacists are able to provide some basic medical services.
Read the full letter by clicking HERE.