2020 Pharmacist Provider Status. Is This the Year?

2020 Pharmacist Provider Status is being considered by the Trump administration. This is a good thing for the profession and more importantly, a good thing for patients. There were a couple of quotes from CMS Administrator Seema Verma with regards to provider status that really demonstrates that it could be on the way. Here are the comments when questioned about provider status.

“That was something the president mentioned in his executive order, Medicare executive order, that’s one of the changes I think we’re looking at … I think you’ll see in this year’s rulemaking there are a few proposals out there about creating more flexibility and allowing providers to operate to the top of their license.”

“As part of the executive order we’re going to look more closely at this next year, as well, to look at this across the board to see what we could do, even more. The idea here is, based on the challenges that you all are facing, we need to create better accessibility and we need to make sure that we have providers on the front lines, and I think that regulations have been a barrier often to that.”

I’m reading between the lines here, but what other profession is constrained by CMS the way that pharmacy is? In addition, accessibility is a huge issue. Adding a pharmacist to the team to manage disease states like diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and many others is easy and a no-brainer.

I think virtually everyone in the profession of pharmacy would be thrilled if CMS would begin to recognize pharmacists as providers. I remain optimistic and ultimately believe it will happen. Some of the longest fights in my life have been the most rewarding in the end. 2020 Pharmacist Provider Status could be a reality and there is a chance that the legislature doesn’t even need to act.

CMS is now asking for comments regarding this Executive Order. They have already relaxed physician assistant oversight through this process. Please take the time to provide comments by 1/17/20 on why pharmacists should be recognized as providers to open up access to health care professionals and promote Patients over Paperwork.

I try not to ask for much from those of you following the blog, but here’s one time where your action can make a difference. To those that think one email doesn’t matter, you are wrong and I’ve seen it time and time again in my career. Please send an email message about the value that pharmacists can provide and indicate the regulatory burdens of CMS that are inhibiting us from working at the top of our license.

Please take the time to email CMS by Friday this week!

The deadline to submit your Scope of Practice recommendations that would allow pharmacists to practice at the top of our license is January 17, 2020! Send your emails to: [email protected] with the phrase “Scope of Practice” in the subject line.

What if our collective emails put us over the top?

Eric Christianson, PharmD, BCPS, BCGP


  1. kirk seale

    Thank you, Eric for bringing this to everyone’s attention!
    it is so important to get involved, and not just rely on the Pharmacy organizations to do the work. Although these organizations do a great job in promoting pharmacy as a profession, members need also to speak up and stand behind those organizations in a united voice. Pharmacist can and do make a difference. Please make your (our) voice heard to CMS that We are trained and able to work at the top of our license.

    in the words of Guy Kawasaki “If you do not toot your own horn, don’t complain that there’s no music”.

  2. E. Michael Murphy

    This is great, thank you for promoting this! I have pulled together resources including a letter template in this Dropbox folder: https://lnkd.in/gN_knrZ

    Act today to increase patient access to pharmacist provided care services!

  3. Bill Jones

    At a session during the 2018 MCM, I asked the ASHP legal panel what other profession is not a provider under Medicare. They did not provider an answer. This is the most compelling reason to have provider status. However, if you have never read the bill, it is important to do that. It is very short and says very little about how things will be done. There is nothing about TOP OF LICENSE. There is nothing about which pharmacists will become providers. Will it be ALL pharmacists, or only those who have passed a two-dimensional exam for being board certified? I think it more likely going to be the latter more than the former. This is the link to the Senate bill from 115th Congressional Session: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/109/text. The House bill is H.R. 592. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/592/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22592%22%5D%7D&r=6&s=6

    • kirk seale

      I think ANY advancement with provider status would be a plus! board certified or otherwise. Its a chance to advance the profession. we should all stick together as pharmacist. Patient care is our main priority…right?

  4. Carol YatesDay

    Pharmacists are crucial members of the health care team. Pharmacists’ training is surpassed only by MDs. Pharmacists are one of the most trusted of all professions Year in and year out. Patients discuss subjects with pharmacists that they will not bring up to other members of the health care team. Pharmacists are as important as doctors & nurses who are not typically well versed in medications other than the ones they repeatedly use. It would be advantageous if dna sequencing could be performed in pharmacies as drug choices & doses could be optimized for each individual. Pharmacists should most definitely be given provider status. We can have powerful positive impacts on patients’s lives as a whole & improve outcomes & quality of life issues. Thank you for your consideration.


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Written By Eric Christianson

January 15, 2020

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