Tallahassee seniors want Congress to protect entry to native pharmacies | Opinion – Tallahassee Democrat
In my 4 many years as a pharmacist, I’ve seen our occupation evolve again and again to higher serve sufferers, this was very true in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the worst well being emergency in a century, communities relied on pharmacists to guard themselves from a lethal virus and pharmacists proceed to exhibit the power to satisfy communities the place they’re and ship important checks, vaccines, and different companies.
However sufferers may lose entry to sure pharmacist companies upon which they’ve come to depend on when the COVID-19 public well being emergency expires as quickly as October. Congress ought to take motion to make sure sufferers in Florida and past preserve constant entry to important well being companies supplied by pharmacists now and through future public well being threats.
Floridians depend on the almost 5,000 pharmacies throughout our state to entry care. Over 15 million folks in Florida have obtained COVID-19 vaccinations, lots of which have been administered by pharmacists. This has been largely attainable as a result of pharmacists are essentially the most accessible well being care suppliers. 9 in 10 Individuals reside inside 5 miles of a pharmacy and sufferers go to their group pharmacist roughly twice as continuously as they go to major care physicians.
Older Floridians have a very sturdy reliance on pharmacists to obtain routine care to handle persistent circumstances, comparable to hypertension, arthritis, or diabetes. Eighty-five % of adults 65 and older have at the least one persistent care situation, and plenty of face boundaries in accessing fundamental well being care wants. The 4.4 million Floridians 65 and older, a fifth of our state’s inhabitants, want entry to care on the pharmacy.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists have been offering important companies – testing, vaccination, and therapy for COVID-19 – underneath short-term federal and state authorities which are set to run out with the nationwide public well being emergency. When well being officers raise these authorities, older Floridians may lose entry to the important pharmacist companies they’ve come to depend on.
Congress can take motion to forestall sufferers from going through disruptions to care by enacting H.R. 7213, bipartisan laws that will protect entry for Medicare beneficiaries to pharmacist companies, comparable to vaccination and testing for COVID-19 and different infectious ailments. The invoice would additionally guarantee pharmacists are compensated for these companies throughout COVID-19 and future well being emergencies, one thing older Individuals agree is necessary.
In response to a brand new survey, eight in 10 older Individuals need entry to testing, vaccination, and therapy on the pharmacy throughout COVID-19 and future well being emergencies. I commend Florida Representatives Darren Soto and Gus Bilirakis for cosponsoring H.R. 7213 and urge the Florida congressional delegation to help this laws to make sure sufferers can proceed to obtain important care and companies from pharmacists.
As a fourth-generation pharmacist, I bear in mind sitting close to the counter as a younger boy watching my father present important companies for sufferers who visited our impartial pharmacy in Daytona Seashore. I’ve typically thought of what my father and grandfather would have accomplished to assist sufferers in the course of the pandemic. I do know they’d have gone above and past for his or her sufferers as a result of that’s our job as pharmacists. We gained’t cease doing the whole lot we are able to to satisfy the well being wants of sufferers, however we want Congress to acknowledge simply how helpful pharmacists are to ageing Individuals.
Invoice Mincy has been a pharmacist since 1976 and is a Board of Director of PPSC, one of many oldest and largest pharmacy service corporations headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida.
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