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APhA: Georgia Rep. Buddy Carter takes to the House floor in support of pharmacy


WASHINGTON - On Tuesday evening, Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., and other Members of Congress took to the floor of the House of Representatives for an hour-long Special Order on pharmacy issues, the American Pharmacists Association reported Thursday. Carter, the only pharmacist in Congress, expressed the urgent need for pharmacists to be recognized as health care providers.

Others participating in the Special Order include Reps. Doug Collins, R-Ga., Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, and Austin Scott, R-Ga.

Rep. Carter highlighted the fact that pharmacists’ role in patient care is much more than dispensing medication, discussing the vital role that pharmacists play in the community as well as on the health care team.

He noted that Rep. Brett Guthrie’s, R-Ky., bill, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R 592/S. 314), would provide Medicare beneficiary access to those clinical services that pharmacists are capable of providing. “Pharmacists are the most accessible health care professionals out there,” Carter said.  H.R. 592/S. 314 seeks to increase access and improve quality by enabling pharmacists to provide patient care services consistent with their education, training and license. The bill would enable Medicare beneficiaries in medically underserved communities to access services that pharmacists can provide consistent with state scope of practice laws.

In addition to Carter, Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., discussed the lack of access and cost of care problems under the current health care system, and called for a hearing on the pharmacy provider status bill and other legislation that supports patient safety and advocacy. A majority of Congress has backed this initiative, as there are currently 293 members of the House and 50 members of the Senate supporting the legislation.

Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, added that “pharmacists across the country serve as the first line, really, of health care services for many patients, especially in small towns in Iowa and around the country. People count on pharmacists’ training and expertise to stay healthy and informed and maybe, most importantly, to stay out of urgent care centers and hospitals, something we all want to see happen. I am proud to stand here today with my colleagues to recognize the quality, affordable, and personal care that pharmacists provide every day.”

Carter has participated in a number of activities to promote the profession of pharmacy and advocate for the recognition of pharmacists’ services. Carter will be partnering with the American Pharmacists Association for the upcoming 4th Annual Capitol Hill Health Fair on Sept. 22 as part of advocacy and community outreach efforts in advance of American Pharmacists Month.

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