Two complementary bills introduced the same day

On January 29th, bills were introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to “provide for coverage under the Medicare program of pharmacist services.”

If passed and signed into law, patients in underserved areas would have access to Medication Therapy Management from pharmacists who would receive Medicare reimbursement as providers.

House bill H.R. 592 was introduced by Rep. Guthrie, Brett [R-KY-2]. You can track co-sponsors here. Current co-sponsors include:

Senate bill S. 314 was introduced by Sen. Grassley, Chuck [R-IA]. Track co-sponsors here. Current co-sponsors are:

But introducing a bill and getting it through Congress are two different things. It takes a lot of support to turn a bill into a law.

How You Can Help

Both the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) strongly support these bills.

If you are already a member of APhA’s “Pharmacist’s Provide Care,” campaign, be on the lookout for grassroots activities they are organizing. If you’re not yet a member, sign up now and become an educated advocate for change that will help pharmacists and patients alike.

Make sure everyone in your pharmacy is aware and gearing up for the legislative battle ahead. And be sure to share this post with all your pharmacy colleagues.

Follow-up on Aetna Part D Fiasco

Last week I told you about Aetna providing incorrect information on its website and on Medicare Plan Finder regarding which pharmacies were in its network. Approximately 5,000 pharmacies listed as being in-network were, in fact, not.

As a result of the errors, more than 400,000 Medicare beneficiaries signed up for plans that did not include their community pharmacy.

Aetna announced that it would allow its customers use any pharmacy that was in-network last year through February 28th.

Meanwhile, CMS, which originally said it was handling problems on a case by case basis, is now allowing Medicare beneficiaries whose pharmacy is no longer in-network for their insurance provider to request a special enrollment period, also through February 28th, during which they can either change plans or change pharmacies.

Read the full story from Bloomberg Business and Kaiser Health News (courtesy of the Kitsap Sun).