ESSB 5557 - WSPA Alert: Landmark Provider Status Legislation Signed by Governor Inslee
Monday, May 11, 2015
Posted by: Kathleen Goodner
Landmark Legislation Paves Way for Pharmacists to Improve Patient Care
RENTON, WA (May 11, 2015) – The Washington State Pharmacy Association (WSPA) announced today that Governor Inslee signed into law ESSB 5557. This landmark law, sponsored by Senator Linda Parlette, is the first of its kind in the nation to require health insurance carriers to include pharmacists as network providers. This law will increase patient access to medical care from pharmacists practicing within their scope of practice. We are proud that Washington State pharmacists continue to lead the way in providing innovative, quality care to patients. This bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support due of the leadership of Sen. Parlette, and Rep. Shelley Short, as well as partnership with the Washington State Medical Association, Washington State Hospital Association, and patient advocacy groups.
Until now, health insurance carriers only recognized pharmacists for dispensing medication. This restriction blocked patients from receiving medical care from pharmacists practicing within their scope of practice.
“Removing these barriers will allow pharmacists to directly care for patients in all practice settings,” said Jeff Rochon, Chief Executive Officer for the Washington State Pharmacy Association. “This common sense solution encourages greater collaboration among health providers and brings health care to patients in our communities.”
ESSB 5557 requires health insurance carriers to recognize pharmacists in the same way as other providers. Pharmacists care for patients by managing their chronic diseases in care teams to improve patient outcomes. Working collaboratively with other providers, pharmacists will effectively be able to provide a broad spectrum of patient care services that prevent patient harm, and reduce emergency department visits and hospital readmissions. This will greatly benefit communities with shortages of primary care physicians.
“We are excited that pharmacists will have opportunities to increase collaboration within the health care team in patient-centered medical homes and Accountable Care Organizations, with the focus being on quality and safety,” added Rochon. “This is a huge development within our healthcare system, and we’re excited that pharmacists will finally be able to utilize all our skills to help patients.”
“The passage of ESSB 5557 simply means that patients will have greater access to high quality care services. Most people only know pharmacists as their trusted prescription partner but now pharmacists will more closely partner with each patient’s medical provider as an exquisitely trained medication specialist,” stated Don Downing, Clinical Professor at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy.
To print a copy of the press release, click here.
We are proud that Washington State pharmacists continue to lead the way in providing innovative, quality care to patients. Our members have had many questions about this bill, and its ramifications. WSPA has developed FAQ document about the bill., which members can find on our ESSB 5557 page. Much of the specifics will be developed by the advisory committee’s recommendations. To further discuss the bill, and answer your questions, WSPA will hold a webinar on Thursday, May 14th at noon. Members can register for the webinar through the WSPA calendar at http://www.wsparx.org/events/Sessions.aspx?id=636641.