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ACCP Report

Washington Report

ACCP Joins Unified Pharmacy Response to the Public Health Emergency Expiration

Written by John McGlew
Director of Government Affairs


ACCP’s Washington, D.C. team joined with colleagues across the pharmacy profession in a letter urging the Biden administration to take immediate action to ensure continued access to certain critical patient care services delivered by pharmacists under the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) as the nation transitions into a post-PHE world.

The letter highlighted pharmacists’ vital contributions in communities across the country during the pandemic: providing infectious disease testing, vaccination, and COVID-19 treatments, including monoclonal antibody therapeutics, in pharmacies as well as hospitals and health systems. In addition, throughout the PHE, pharmacists across all practice settings have played an essential role in maintaining patient access to chronic disease care and other non–COVID-related services.

Telehealth Advocacy

Of particular interest to ACCP, the letter urges the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to make telehealth flexibilities permanent, including allowing all Medicare beneficiaries access to telehealth services and loosening the telehealth origination site requirements.

Of importance, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 extended these flexibilities until 2024. However, it is critical that CMS make them permanent through rulemaking. The growth of telehealth services during the pandemic has illustrated the value of telehealth long term, particularly for patients with mobility issues and those who live in rural and/or medically underserved areas. To facilitate the collaboration between physicians and pharmacists providing services from two separate locations to help expand access to telehealth services, ACCP and its pharmacy colleagues specifically called on CMS to permanently allow direct supervision to be provided virtually.

Current Guidance from the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR)

The end of the PHE does not automatically terminate PREP Act coverage for activities related to COVID-19 countermeasures. Manufacturers, distributors, public and private entities conducting countermeasure programs, and providers authorized under state law or by the Secretary’s PREP Act declaration for COVID-19 countermeasures are covered for the following (subject to the terms of the Act and the declaration):

  • All activities related to a federal agreement through October 1, 2024 (e.g., a federal contract for procurement and distribution of vaccines or treatments, provider agreement; memorandum of understanding)
  • All activities not related to a federal agreement (e.g., countermeasures distributed entirely through the commercial sector or as part of a state emergency response) through October 1, 2024, or the end of any federal, regional, state, or local declared emergency, whichever is first
  • Activities related to products distributed from the Strategic National Stockpile until they are used
  • Activities related to NIOSH-regulated masks for as long as the Secretary determines the products are needed to respond to the PHE

Thus, under the terms of the current PREP Act declaration for COVID-19 countermeasures, PREP Act coverage will end if the PHE and all other emergency declarations end and there is no federal agreement relevant to the activity.

ACCP and its pharmacy colleagues interpret this to mean that because the PREP Act declaration of a PHE remains through October 1, 2024, the authorities are maintained until then.

Click here to view the current guidance from ASPR in full.
Click here to read the letter from 12 national pharmacy organizations seeking clarification on the PHE transition.
Click here for guidance on telehealth guidance authorized under the PHE.
Click here for guidance on telehealth guidance authorized under the PREP Act.