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ACCP Report

Washington Report

ACCP Urges Senate Finance Committee to Include Clinical Pharmacists in Mental Health Legislation

Written by John McGlew
Director of Government Affairs


Congress returned to Washington, D.C., after the Thanksgiving holiday to resume work under a “lame-duck” session to address several high-priority policy issues facing the nation. Funding for the federal government is set to expire on December 16, so lawmakers face an aggressive schedule to pass appropriations measures that would avoid an embarrassing government shutdown.

ACCP’s Washington, D.C. team remains focused on several key health care initiatives that could come up for consideration as part of the final legislative push:

  • Integrate Clinical Pharmacists as Essential Members of the Mental Health Care Team. The Senate Finance Committee released a discussion draft of legislation aimed at creating better care integration of mental and physical health care services and expanding access to crisis care and follow-up services to get Americans the longer-term care they need. The proposed legislation would increase payment rates to help providers integrate behavioral health and primary care and create a Medicare bundled payment for crisis stabilization services, including observation care, screenings for suicide risk, screenings for violence risk, and assessments of immediate physical health needs. ACCP submitted a 1-page statement that calls on Congress to formally recognize and pay for services that optimize medications on behalf of patients with complex conditions in evolving payment models.
  • Advance Bipartisan Telehealth Flexibility. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress greatly expanded the number of services that could be reimbursed by telehealth and enabled regulators to waive regulations, such as originating site. The House passed legislation that extends key telehealth flexibilities through December 2024. However, such flexibilities could end 5 months after the COVID-19 public health emergency ends, which may expire in 2023. ACCP continues to urge Congress to make permanent telehealth flexibilities that facilitate the delivery of team-based services by clinical pharmacists.
  • Work Toward Reintroduction of Pharmacogenomic Consultations Delivered by Qualified Clinical Pharmacists. The Cures 2.0 legislation that was aimed at modernizing access to and coverage for innovative therapies generated bipartisan support in the last Congress. Of importance, the bill included Section 408: Medicare Coverage for Consultations, which would establish a pilot program to cover pharmacogenetic consultations delivered by qualified clinical pharmacists. ACCP has been working collaboratively with its partner organizations to advance this potentially impactful provision. Although this initiative is unlikely to pass during the lame-duck session in 2022, ACCP is already working with congressional leaders in the key committees of jurisdiction to urge introduction of the proposal in the new Congress.

Take Action!

Now we need your help. Members of Congress need to hear directly from clinical pharmacists about the importance of pharmacogenomic testing and the emerging world of precision medicine toward achieving our overall goal of helping patients achieve medication optimization.

Contacting the offices of your elected officials is simple. We have prepared a letter for you to review and edit. Simply follow the instructions to send this message to Capitol Hill. Please take the time to personalize the letter by providing additional information about your practice and the patients you care for. Click here to send a letter today!