Bill to Properly Reimburse Pharmacists for Prescribing Meds Heads to House Floor

Pharmacists Often Only Provider in Rural Communities, Play Critical Health Care Role

HB 42, Rep. Debbie Armstrong’s bill to ensure that pharmacists are reimbursed properly when they provide clinical services and prescribe medications for patients, is now headed to the House floor for a vote after it passed the House State Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee on Monday by a vote of 4-1.

“In many rural communities, pharmacists play a critical role in helping patients to get the care they need,” Armstrong said. “We must ensure that pharmacists are reimbursed properly so that they can continue to provide critical health care services in their communities.”

Currently, pharmacists cannot be reimbursed for clinical and prescriptive services—despite the fact that they are qualified to and allowed by law to provide these services. Pharmacists today can only be reimbursed for the cost of the medication itself and for filling the prescription. HB 42 would create reimbursement parity so that pharmacists would be reimbursed at the same rate as other providers with prescriptive authority.

Given the key role that prescription medications play in modern health care, pharmacists are also active members of a patient’s care team even in areas where it’s easier for patients to access health care services. Pharmacists’ insight and expertise provide life-saving care and should be valued, Armstrong said.

Further, despite New Mexico’s provider shortage, which leaves many communities without doctors or nurse practitioners, there is no shortage of trained pharmacists in the state, according to Dale Tinker, executive director of the New Mexico Pharmacists Association.

“We must support the highly trained, skilled health care providers we have in New Mexico,” Armstrong said. “Pharmacists are an important, valued part of our health care system.”

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About Rep. Armstrong: Debbie, Chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, is a long-time health care advocate serving her second term in the New Mexico House of Representatives. Having started her career as a physical therapist, she has worked extensively as a health care administrator, working 10 years with Presbyterian Medical Services in Santa Fe. Prior to serving as Secretary of New Mexico’s Aging and Long-Terms Services Department, she oversaw the department’s Consumer and Elder Rights Division. Debbie is the mother of three adult children. She lives in Albuquerque’s North Valley.  Follow her on Twitter @NMRepArmstrong and on Facebook, and sign up for email and text updates.

                                                                                                                                 

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Paid for by Debbie Armstrong for New Mexico, Jill Riester, Treasurer

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