Understanding Provider Status

Maher Ishak owns and manages Woodbury Pharmacy in Highland Mills, New York. An experienced professional with more than two decades of pharmaceutical experience, Maher Ishak has worked hard to transform Woodbury Pharmacy into an award-winning patient-focused business, repeatedly recognized by local media as one of the best pharmacies in the region.

A recent movement by the American Pharmacy Association to recognize pharmacists as official health care providers under federal law gained momentum in 2014. A bill introduced into the House of Representatives in March 2014 strived to introduce this federal recognition and achieve what is known as “provider status” within the Social Security Act (SSA).

The Social Security Act determines whether medical services fall under health care programs, for example Medicare Part B. Providers currently listed within the SSA include certified nurse practitioners, physicians, clinical social workers, qualified midwives, and qualified psychologists. Pharmacists are currently omitted from the act. Provider status would allow pharmacists to bill patient care services under Medicare Part B, some of which may be reimbursable in areas that are designated as underserved. Without provider status, patients do not yet receive full access to the benefits of services provided by pharmacists.

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