CLIA Waiver Pharmacy Growth: How Does Broadening Scope of Practice Affect the Pharmacist Labor Market?

As the demand for medical care continues to grow faster than supply, the United States will likely face a large shortage of primary care physicians in the near future. Expanding the role of non-physician practitioners, such as pharmacists, in the provision of health care is one possible solution to this pending crisis.

A new study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University addresses concerns about whether these practitioners can efficiently absorb the additional responsibilities into their workflow, and it finds that pharmacists and lab technicians appear to be capable of providing low-risk medical tests without significantly affecting the number of hours worked.

Saint Francis University Associate Professor Edward J. Timmons and Mercatus MA Fellow Conor S. Norris examine the effects of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA), which allow pharmacies to apply for waivers to conduct low-risk medical tests, and they conclude that broadening the scope of practice for pharmacists may help alleviate the rising costs of providing health care in the United States.

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