Washington, DC – Today, Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI), David B. McKinley (R-WV), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), and Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA) introduced the bipartisan Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act. This legislation will help ensure patients can continue to access COVID-19 pandemic and pandemic-related health services from pharmacists and provide pharmacists with the resources they need to prepare for any future public health emergencies.
“Millions of patients across Wisconsin and the country rely on pharmacists for critical care and support, especially in our rural communities,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “The Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act will help ensure patients can continue to access testing, vaccination, and other critical health services from their local pharmacy while also making sure our pharmacists are ready for future public health emergencies. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation and I’ll keep working to make sure all Wisconsinites have access to the quality care they need.”
“Patients have benefitted enormously from the health care and services provided by pharmacists during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those living in underserved communities,” Congresswoman Barragán said. “I am proud to join Reps. Kind, Carter, and McKinley in introducing this legislation that would ensure that patients can continue to have reliable and timely access to important testing and vaccination services provided by pharmacists. For California’s 44th District and Los Angeles County, where low-income communities and communities of color often lack equitable access to essential health care and services, this bill will alleviate gaps in care and improving health equity.”
“As a pharmacist, I know that accessible health care is crucial to our nation’s wellbeing. As we look to create a ‘new normal,’ we must prepare our pharmacists for the next public health emergency, so they are ready to serve and protect their communities,” said Rep. Carter. “Thank you to Rep. Kind for leading this issue, which will bring necessary aid to the millions of patients that rely on pharmacists for care.”
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacies’ abilities to provide critical health services, COVID-19 testing, and vaccines were expanded. Sustaining this public health infrastructure is key to continuing to address the COVID-19 pandemic and preparing for future public health emergencies. It’s critical that pharmacies and pharmacists have clear Medicare reimbursement for their pandemic-related services in order to keep this infrastructure in place.
The Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act would provide coverage for pharmacist services under Medicare Part B, including:
- Vaccinations for COVID-19 and Influenza
- Testing for COVID-19, Influenza, Strep Throat, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus
- Treatment for COVID-19, Influenza, and Strep Throat
Additionally, the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act would ensure patients have consistent access to health care and services provided by pharmacists by establishing Medicare coverage and payment for pharmacist services in the case of future Public Health Emergencies, as determined by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Read the bipartisan bill here.