Walgreens chief medical officer appeals to lawmakers in provider status blog


WASHINGTON — Provider status for pharmacists makes sense because of a confluence of factors: An aging America that's increasing demand and an escalating shortage of primary care physicians that's placing a strain on supply, suggested Harry Leider, chief medical officer and group VP for Walgreens, in a blog published Friday by The Hill


These factors have come to define the latest healthcare crisis to face Americans: Access.

"Against this backdrop, it’s clear we need to make changes to our system to counter these trends that will only continue to hinder patient access," he wrote. "One viable solution is to promote the important role community pharmacists can play in providing patient care, in the same manner as other non-physician providers like nurse practitioners and physician assistants."  


Leider argued for support of the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592 / S. 314), which was recently introduced by Reps. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., Todd Young, R-Ind. and Ron Kind, D-Wis. in the House of Representatives and Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Bob Casey, D-Pa. and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. "[T]he reality is, healthcare is evolving and the access challenges are very real. In order to meet the access pressures that these changes in the healthcare market are placing on our system, our attitudes as doctors and the policies in Washington need to evolve too," Leider concluded.

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