Legislature revises qualifications for licensure
Introduced by Delegates Joe Ellington (R-Mercer), Eric Householder (R-Berkeley), Lynne Arvon (R-Raleigh), Gary Howell (R-Mineral) and Chris Stansbury (R-Kanawha) the Legislature passed House Billl 2432 revising qualifications pharmacists must meet to be licensed in WV. Below is the new law with the revisions underlined.
30-5-9. Qualifications for licensure as pharmacist:
(a) To be eligible for a license to practice pharmacist care under the provisions of this article, the applicant shall:
(1) Submit a written application to the board;
(2) Be eighteen years of age or older;
(3) Pay all applicable fees;
(4) Graduate from an accredited school of pharmacy;
(5) Complete at least fifteen hundred hours of internship in a pharmacy under the instruction and supervision of a pharmacist;
(6) Pass an examination approved by the board;
(7) Not be an alcohol or drug abuser, as these terms are defined in section eleven, article one-a, chapter twenty-seven of this code: Provided, Than an applicant in an active recovery process, which may, in the discretion of the board, be evidenced by participation in a twelve-step program of other similar group or process, may be considered;
(8) Present to the board satisfactory evidence that he or she is a person of good moral character, has not been convicted of a felony involving the sale or distribution of controlled substances;
(9) Not been convicted in any jurisdiction of any other felony or crime which bears a rational nexus to the individual's ability to practice pharmacist care, Provided, That an applicant with a felony conviction other than the felony conviction specified in subdivision eight of this section may apply to the board for licensure no sooner than five years after the date of the conviction. The board shall evaluate each applicant on a case by case basis; and
(10) Has fulfilled any other requirement specified by the board in rule.
(b) An applicant from another jurisdiction shall comply with all the requirements of this article.
MPLA: What does it mean to pharmacy?
The 2015 Legislature passed and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin enacted Senate Bill 6, revising the State's Medical Professional Liability Act (MPLA) providing pharmacists and pharmacies, as well as other types of providers, enhanced protection against malpractice actions. WVPA actively pursued passage of the bill.
For several years after the initial enactment of the MPLA in 2003, circuit courts around the State gave pharmacies and pharmacists the same benefits of the Act as physicians when it came to determining monetary damages to be paid injured patients - such as the $250,000 cap on non-economic damages and $500,000 cap for a wrongful death.
But one case change all of that when the WV Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that pharmacists and pharmacies were not covered by the Act because they were not listed in the Act's definition of "health care provider" - as were physicians and a few other providers. The patient was awarded the $250,000 cap by the physician's insurance company, but the pharmacy dispensing the drug as prescribed by the physician had to pay over $2 million to the patient who suffered kidney failure.
Therein lies a major benefit of the MPLA to pharmacists and pharmacies. With the passage of Senate Bill 6, pharmacists and pharmacies have the economic benefit of a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages and $500,000 cap for wrongful death or permanent injury. (Note: Several other types of providers not listed in the 2003 Act were also added to the Act.)
It should be noted the Legislature incorporated increases into each of the two caps equal to the increase in the consumer price index (CPI) beginning January 1, 2016, and in each year after that up to a maximum cap of $375,000 for non-economic losses and $750,000 cap for a death or permanent injury.
But the MPLA means more than that. The new Act substantiates in the legal perspective that pharmacists are "health care providers" which goes a long way for the professional to attain "provider status" in our State. Below are some definitions and provisions of Senate Bill 6 that pharmacists should be informed of.
Specifically and most importantly, pharmacists were added to the Act's definition of health care provider and pharmacies are added to the definition of health care facility. These two definitions are very important.
"Health care" means: (1) any act, service or treatment provided under, pursuant to or in the furtherance of a physician's plan of care, a health care facility's plan of care, medical diagnosis or treatment; (2) Any act, service or treatment performed or furnished or which should have been performed or furnished, by any health care provider or person supervised by or acting under the direction of a health care provider or licensed professional for, to or on behalf of a patient during the patient's medical care, treatment or confinement, including, but not limited to, staffing, medical transport, custodial care or basic care, infection control, positioning, hydration, nutrition and similar patient service; and (3) The process employed by health care providers and health care facilities for the appointment, employment, contracting, credentialing, privileging and supervision of health care providers.
"Health care facility" means any clinic, hospital, pharmacy, nursing home, assisted living facility, residential care community, end-stage renal disease facility, home health agency, child welfare agency, group residential facility, behavioral health care facility or comprehensive community mental health center, intellectual/developmental disability center or program, or other ambulatory health care facility, in and licensed, regulated or certified by the State under state or federal law and any state-operated entity to the health care faicility.
"Health care provider" means a person, partnership, corporation, professional limited liability company, health care facility, entity or institution licensed by, or certified in, this State or another state, to provide health care or professional health care services, including, but not limited to, a physician, osteopathic
physician, physician assistant, advanced practice registered nurse, hospital, health care facility, dentist, registered or licensed practical nurse, optometrist, podiatrist, chiropractor, physical therapist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, psychologist, pharmacist, technician, certified nursing assistant, emergency medical service personnel, emergency medical services authority or agency, any person supervised by or acting under the direction of a licensed professiona, any person taking actions or providing service or treatment pursuant to or in furtherance of a physician's plan of care, a healthcare facility's plan of care, medical diagnosis or treatment; or an officer, employee or agent of a health provider acting in the course and scope of the officer's, employee's or agent's employment.
"Related entity" means any corporation, foundation, partnership, joint venture, professional limited liability company, limited liability company, trust, affiliate or other entity under common control or ownership, whether directly or indirectly, partially or completely, legally, beneficially or constructively, with a health care provider or health care facility; or which owns directly, indirectly, beneficially or constructively any part of a health care provider or health care facility.