If fully implemented as crafted what are the top 5 benefits pharmacist provider status law?
The number one benefit is that it calls out pharmacists in the state of California as “healthcare providers”. This not only opens doors for reimbursement but also emphasizes this role in the eyes of the public.
The bill includes language that integrates the pharmacist as a core element of the healthcare team, which is another advantage in terms of recognizing the unique role that pharmacists play as the medication expert. This will increasingly benefit pharmacists in the community setting as meaningful use of the electronic record is more fully realized.
Third, it spells out disease management and disease prevention as pharmacist functions, creating more opportunity for pharmacists in those areas. In particular, APP pharmacists will be engaged in these activities with authority to perform patient assessments, order and adjust medications and make necessary referrals. The opportunities for pharmacists granted by this portion of the law are yet another benefit.
I think the law creates a tremendous opportunity for expansion of pharmacists and pharmacy services into different settings and relationships, certainly within health systems, but also community practitioners. Look for community pharmacists to become more active in the Patient Centered Medical Home, and Accountable Care Organization business structures.
How will society benefit from pharmacists as providers?
There is a shortage of healthcare providers in California and the US, made only more acute with the implementation of the state and federal health insurance exchanges. Here in California, 42 of 58 counties are deficient in the number of providers per capita based on federal standards, particularly in rural areas. Pharmacists will fill this void by utilizing their drug therapy expertise to combat disease and promote wellness; 80% of chronic diseases are managed by medications, and pharmacists are the preeminent medication therapy management experts.
How will SB493 impact pharmacy employment?
First and foremost, SB 493 creates opportunity. It is up to pharmacists to take the next step. Pharmacists should continue to push to take on these new roles, engaging health insurers, health systems, and physicians. Armed with the details of this bill and the plethora of evidence that pharmacists’ provider services positively impact healthcare quality and access, and reduce costs, I expect to see more and more pharmacists, within healthcare systems and in the community setting, integrate more with patient care teams.