Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Pharmacy chains begs for prolonged emergency provisions (interns can vaccinate, doubled reimbursements per shot, no liability)

From Fierce Pharma, which has embedded code which made posting this a nightmare.  Think it is finally obliterated.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) wants the White House to keep the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act in place until October 2024. PREP provides liability protection to pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy interns, according to a letter sent last week by Steven C. Anderson, NACDS president and CEO.
NACDS also wants to see a plan “grounded in reality” by which uninsured individuals will be covered for vaccinations, tests and anti-COVID therapeutics, pointing out that funding for testing and therapeutics for the uninsured ended in late March and funding for vaccine administration in early April.

What’s the plan for when coverage for vaccines and COVID-19 tests shifts from the government to commercial insurance payers, NACDS wants to know.

“As we continue to roll out new bivalent COVID-19 booster shots to address COVID-19 variants and simultaneously prepare for what is predicted to be a particularly severe flu season, other challenges exist,” Anderson wrote. “We must prepare methodically for the formal conclusion of the federal public health emergency declaration and for a transition of COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and therapeutics to the commercial markets and coverage by Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurers.”

The shift should be accompanied by a public awareness campaign so patients understand how best to get care for COVID-19 and other problems.

NACDS also calls for the passage of H.R. 7213, the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act, which the organization claims will establish a clear pathway for paying for pharmacy services delivered at drugstores to Medicare beneficiaries. “Lack of this pathway today is generating real-world consequences—most notably, contributing to reduced access to lifesaving therapeutics,” the letter states.

The letter also calls on a better rollout of COVID-19 therapeutics by leveraging pharmacists. Because that has not been done, NACDS says, it limited “the accessibility and equity of these medications.”

NACDS states: “It would be deeply harmful to our nation’s public health to hastily unravel the flexibilities that enable pharmacies to provide key services patients have come to expect and need.”

Ninety percent of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy; this is one of the reasons pharmacists have administered over 266 million doses of vaccine so far during the COVID-19 pandemic, NACDS notes in the letter.

“In fact, approximately 2 of every 3 COVID-19 vaccine doses are being provided at a pharmacy and more than 40% of individuals vaccinated for COVID-19 at a pharmacy are from racial and ethnic minority groups,” the letter says. “Further, more than 40% of children ages 5 to 11 who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 did so at a pharmacy.”

The American Academy of Family Physicians, which represents about 127,000 physicians and medical students nationwide, isn’t quite on the same page as NACDS, stating in a letter (PDF) that it sent to Biden on Sept. 13 that the “burden should not fall on primary care physicians to determine if their patients received the COVID-19 vaccine from a community vaccine provider.

"Further, primary care physicians should be notified if their patients are prescribed or administered monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19, so they can provide appropriate follow-up care. Increasing reliance on pharmacists and other providers outside of patients’ medical homes squanders the value of physician-patient relationships and leads to care fragmentation.”

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