Petition to Recognize Pharmacists as Health Care Providers

As you may already know, Sandra Leal, PharmD, CDE, started on Change.org a petition to recognize pharmacists as health care providers addressed to the President of the United States of America. Since the right to petition our government is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, The White House created the Petition website titled “We the People” to provide a new way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country. If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response. Since no pharmacy related petition has been started on the website, the same petition started by Dr. Leal no Change.org was published on the website “We The People” by St. John’s University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate, Steve Soman.

As of the time of this post, the Change.org petition by Dr. Leal has garnered 21,933 supporters. Since “We The People” (hence forth referred to as the White House Petition Site), website has a threshold for the amount of votes a petition needs to be addressed by the administration. The new rules, as of October 2011 is:

To cross the first threshold and be searchable within WhiteHouse.gov, a petition must reach 150 signatures within 30 days.

To cross the second threshold and require a response, a petition must reach 25,000 signatures within 30 days.

Hence, your participation and votes are needed. Please vote using the following URL and share the link with your Pharmacy Interns, Pharmacy Technicians, Pharmacists, friends and family members. The URL to the White House Petition Site is: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/recognize-pharmacists-health-care-providers/3lkFWfvw  The original petition to recognize pharmacists as health care providers can be found (and signed) on Change.org via this URL: https://www.change.org/petitions/the-president-of-the-united-states-recognize-pharmacists-as-health-care-providers

Due to the limitations of the White House Petition Site, the original petition to recognize pharmacists as health care providers had to be shortened to fit the White House guidelines. Thus the new petition reads as follows:

We petition the obama administration to:

Recognize pharmacists as health care providers!

Despite overwhelming evidence of the positive impact pharmacists can have on patient health, pharmacists are not recognized as healthcare providers under the Social Security Act and, therefore, cannot be paid by Medicare for therapy management and patient consultation services. The Social Security Act does recognize other healthcare professionals such as dieticians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurse midwives, and clinical social workers.

By changing the compensation structure allowed under Medicare, we can ensure that patients have access to the medication expertise of pharmacists. Studies have shown that when a pharmacist is directly involved in patient care, patients have fewer adverse drug reactions, experience improved outcomes, and healthcare costs are reduced.

Your votes and help is appreciated. Please spread the word and stand up for our pharmacy profession. We do so much to advocate for the patients and help our communities, its time that we receive some recognition of that. More than that, its a patient safety issue.

As Dr. Leal stated in her original petition;

The perils of adverse effects from taking multiple medications affect all age groups. According to a recent survey, just over half of all Americans take at least 2 medications each day and nearly one-third take 4 or more medications each day. For the Medicare population, medication use is even higher — nearly half of Americans aged 65 and older take at least 4 medications each day.

ACCP has also launched a new initiative to seek provider status for clinical pharmacists working in all practice settings. That report and details on such proposal can be read at the ACCP Website.

This is a critical safety issue!! Your signatures and voices matter, so sign the petition today!