As a result of the Affordable Care Act and the Medicaid expansion currently being implemented in more than half the states, millions more Americans than ever before now have health coverage. Much attention is focusing on making sure that an adequate health care workforce is in place to meet the increased demand for services. In response, many states have expanded “scope of practice” laws to allow nurse practitioners, community health workers and others to provide services to Medicaid beneficiaries. For example, some states have created an “advanced practice pharmacy” (APP) designation to expand pharmacists’ scope of practice. This designation allows pharmacists to provide direct patient care, including medication therapy management (MTM), which can include medication therapy reviews, pharmacotherapy consults, anticoagulation management, immunizations, health and wellness programs, as well as other clinical services.
Mississippi was the first state to receive Medicaid waiver approval to reimburse pharmacists for patient care. The program was a collaboration between the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy and community pharmacists, who provide MTM services in rural areas across the state.
Many other states have followed suit with the promise that better management of multiple medications can result in improved health outcomes and cost-savings.
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