Joining his Senate colleagues in a push to expand access to critical health care services across rural America, Alabama Senator Luther Strange on Thursday announced his co-sponsorship of S. 109: the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act.
The bill, which was introduced in January by Iowa-Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley encourages pharmacists to serve older Americans in communities lacking easy access to doctors or where pharmacists are more convenient to visit for certain services than doctors. This includes the administration of immunizations, management of chronic conditions, and conducting preventive testing and screening.
In medically underserved communities, pharmacists are often the most accessible medical professionals, but remain unrecognized as health care providers by federal law. This bill would change that.
“Seniors across rural Alabama deserve coverage that actually means care,” said Strange. “This bill is a commonsense way to ensure that medical professionals are empowered to practice the full scope of their licenses by delivering critical treatments and testing to the underserved populations of our state. Pharmacists are often the most trusted, accessible care providers in small communities.”
Strange continued, “As a customer of a community pharmacy, myself, I know that these professionals deserve to be reimbursed under Medicare for the vital services they deliver. It is important to recognize the value of pharmacists, along with the spectrum of nursing practitioners, in integrating comprehensive, value-based healthcare.”