Federal program to reimburse pharmacists as providers

Pharmacists will be listed as providers on some U.S. government employees' insurance bills for their roles in assessing COVID-19 symptoms and prescribing the antiviral Paxlovid. 

In a Dec. 8 letter, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the federal agency that handles employer-sponsored health insurance for civilian federal workers, wrote that it expects pharmacists to be reimbursed for patient assessment and prescribing the COVID-19 therapy. 

The news is a win for pharmacists, a healthcare profession that's routinely passed over when it comes to reimbursement. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists regularly meets with CMS to advocate for greater reimbursement measures, but the effort to gain the "provider" status has been a decadeslong endeavor

In July, the FDA cleared state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid. The ASHP said Dec. 16 that this decision, along with the recent allowance of being listed as providers for some federal employees' payer plans, "will expand access to clinical services provided by pharmacists for nearly nine million federal employees, retirees and family members."

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