February 20, 2020

Bill that backers say can help healthcare around the state goes to Guv’s desk

New Mexico State Capitol (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Mr.TinDC

The Senate unanimously passed a bill that will enable pharmacists to be paid for time spent prescribing emergency contraception and hormonal contraception.

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk, where it is expected to be signed.

Backers say HB 42 will particularly help rural pharmacists and rural patients. Senator Liz Stefanics, D-Cerrillos, who carried the bill in the Senate, said it helps pharmacists because they are paid for filling prescriptions, but they are not paid for the time they spend prescribing medications. Because there are doctor shortages in rural areas in New Mexico, this could help rural patients, say backers of the bill.

“This bill would ask for reimbursement comparable to a physician or nurse practitioner,” Stefanics said.

The pharmacist would need to be part of the insurer’s network to be reimbursed at the same rate as other medical providers, according to the Fiscal Impact Report.

Pharmacists could also be reimbursed for additional prescriptive services such as tuberculosis testing and vaccinations, Stefanics said.

The bill will improve health care across the state, said Kat Sanchez, policy associate for nonprofit Bold Futures.