WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) today introduced the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act, bipartisan legislation that would ensure seniors can continue to access certain clinical services from their pharmacist. The bill would allow Medicare to reimburse for certain pharmacist-administered tests, treatments, and vaccinations for influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), COVID-19, and strep throat, in accordance with state scope-of-practice laws.
“Seniors across South Dakota rely on the care and support they receive from their community pharmacist,” said Thune. “I am proud to lead this common-sense legislation that would allow these trusted sources for vaccinations and other important treatments to remain a reliable option for seniors.”
“Pharmacists play a key role in delivering health care services in our communities,” said Warner. “This legislation will make care for common illnesses – including flu, COVID, RSV, and strep throat – easier for seniors to access by allowing pharmacists to seek reimbursement from Medicare for services that they are already licensed to perform under state laws, such as testing and vaccination.”
“We extend our heartfelt appreciation to Senator Thune for introducing the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacists Services Act,” said Amanda Bacon, executive director of the South Dakota Pharmacists Association. “This groundbreaking legislation will make an incredible difference in increasing access to essential healthcare services provided by pharmacists across South Dakota. By recognizing the critical role pharmacists play in patient care and fostering collaboration with other healthcare providers, Senator Thune is paving the way for a healthier and more vibrant future for our communities.”
“Pharmacists are a vital part of the rural health care delivery system as many older adults in rural areas depend on their pharmacist to help manage multiple prescriptions and conditions,” said Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association (NRHA). “The Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act would remove barriers for older adults in rural areas to access essential pharmacist services related to respiratory illnesses, which tend to be more fatal for older populations. NRHA is proud to support this legislation to ensure rural communities maintain access to pharmacist services and care to help older adults manage their health.”