Many new laws and legislation that will effect Pharmacy owners and their businesses are being introduced on both a national and state level this year. As an owner it is hard to keep up on all the proposed legislation that is being considered and discussed, but it is important to us all in the pharmacy industry to be aware of the impact new laws will have and to make sure that we have a say in what is being proposed. The focus for more cost effective healthcare solutions has placed pharmacy in the spotlight regarding both a pharmacist’s roles and responsibilities, plus financial reimbursements.
In addition to the spotlight focusing on healthcare service costs is a new study that shows medication problems cost over $275 billion annually (half of which is attributed to chronic disease patients not taking their medications properly). On a national level a new bill was introduced in Congress to grant Medicare provider status to pharmacists. Named the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act, the law would allow pharmacists to bill under Medicare Part-B for services regarding medication and disease management. Keep in mind that this would only affect patients that are considered underserved in areas that are proven to have a shortage of healthcare professionals. Although actual reimbursement to pharmacists will be minimal at best, it is a start in the right direction.
On a state level 75 new bills have already been introduced so far this year related to pharmacist provider status. Most of the proposed state legislation centers around designating pharmacists as providers, expanding the scope of practice, and paying for services. Already in 38 states, pharmacists are designated as providers, but the definition of provider is not always codified in the same area of the law from state to state, according to Krystalyn Weaver, PharmD, RPh, director of policy and state relations at the National Pharmacists’ Care Coalition. As of today, 11 state Medicaid programs pay pharmacists for medication management: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. In Ohio, a private Medicaid managed-care contractor pays for medication management.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding how these new laws and proposed legislation may affect your pharmacy business, contact us here at HCC. Although we do not claim to be lawyer,s if you have questions regarding the new laws and how they may affect your pharmacy business we work closely with the most appropriate legal firms available on your behalf. With over 25 years in the Pharmacy Consulting business, HCC can assist with expert advice in any area of your pharmacy practice. We urge you to contact us today to see how our Pharmacy Consulting services can help. With a full-time staff of in-house Pharmacy Consultant specialists, HCC can answer any questions that you may have in all areas of your business. Call us today at 800-642-1652 for a free consultation.