Commonwealth Policy Papers


With much light on rural hospital closures and healthcare workforce shortages, a sect of rural healthcare rarely discussed is the availability and accessibility of rural independent pharmacies. Pharmacies are a vital part of healthcare delivery in rural communities, with many not only supplying medications but also offering clinical services such as immunizations, blood pressure and glucose monitoring, medication counseling, and more. As funds are available, Congress should designate the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to establish a Critical Access Pharmacy Care Program to ensure the sustainability of critical access pharmacies throughout the United States. Specifics of the proposed program are included in this brief.