Save the date - February 23, 2015 - and plan to attend "Pharmacy Day at the WV Legislature". It is your opportunity to inform your elected officials of issues important to your profession and your pharmacy. This annual event is hosted by WV Pharmacists Association.
Billion dollar bail-out for major pharmacies
That was the statement made by a plaintiff attorney during the WV House of Delegates hearing, February 8, relating to House Bill 2006 and Senate Bill 6, companion bills calling for reform measures to the State's Medical Professional Liability Act (MPLA).
Over 40 health care practitioners, attorneys, victims of injuries or their relatives and others testified in support of or opposition to the proposed legislation.
One of the major provisions of the proposed legislation includes adding pharmacies to the definition of "health care facility" which would result in pharmacies having protection given to hospitals, clinics and similar facilities under the MPLA. Individual pharmacists are to be added to the definition of "health care provider" in both bills, something the West Virginia Pharmacists Association has been lobbing lawmakers for the past three years.
There was an initial effort to delete pharmacists and pharmacies from the bill, according to Richard Stevens, WVPA Executive Director and lobbyist. However, the amendment to do delete was pulled from the agenda.
WVPA was represented at the hearing by Krista Capehart, Pharm.D., MSPharm, President, and Stevens. Capehart's testimony identifying the hands-on and clinical services pharmacists provide their patients, including immunizations, various screenings, diabetes management, chronic disease self-management education and medication therapy management.
The upper chamber passed Senate Bill 6, and sent it to the House of Delegates to consider. The House Judiciary Committee met for several hours over two days before approving the bill with minor amendments and sent it to the full house for its first of three readings, February 13.
WEST VIRGINIA LEGISLATURE UPDATE - FEBRUARY 16, 2015
The legislative issue of major importance to pharmacy is Senate Bill 6. In part, it amends the State's Medical Professional Liability Act (MPLA) by adding pharmacists to the definition of "health care provider" and pharmacies to the definition of "health care facility."
These additions will go a long way in recognizing pharmacists for their services to patients, as well as give pharmacists and pharmacies the civil tort protection afforded other providers under the MPLA.
Senate Bill 6 has passed the Senate and is on second reading today in the House of Delegates, after being approved by the House Judiciary Committee last week. It is expected to pass the House tomorrow, and will be sent back to the Senate for the upper chamber to accept amendments made by the House.
Senate Bill 203 and House Bill 2350 contain the Board of Pharmacy rule relating to pharmacists and interns to administer immunizations. The rule adds a licensed pharmacy intern as a person who can administer immunizations provided they are under the personal supervision of a pharmacist who is registered with the Board to administer immunizations. The intern is to complete the training and certification required by the Board. These companion bills are in the Judiciary Committees of their respective house.
Senate Bill 204 and House Bill 2351 contain the Board of Pharmacy rule relating to training and registration of pharmacy technicians. While the duties of a PT remain as currently allowed, the rule reduces the hours of training from 2,080 over two years to 960 hours over a 15-month period. To qualify for registration, a person has to graduate from a competency-based pharmacy technician education and training program or complete a pharmacy-provided, on-the-job, competency-based education program approved by the Board. The tech has 90 days after graduation to pass the ExCPT or PTCE national certification exam. Senate Bill 204 allows a pharmacists to supervise up to six (6) techs, while House Bill 2351 allows up to four (4). These two bills are in the Judiciary Committees of their respective house.
Senate Bill 205 and House Bill 2352 contain the Board of Pharmacy rule relating to the controlled substance monitoring program (CSMP). The rule, for the first time, defines a "patient" who: "(1) has a valid ongoing practitioner-patient relationship; or (2) has not yet established an ongoing practitioner-patient relationship, but: (a) has requested to establish such a relationship with the practitioner; or (b) has been referred to that practitioner for evaluation or care by another practitioner." This definition was added at the request of the Board's advisory committee to clarify that a practitioner could access the CSMP database prior to treating a person who was not a patient-of-record. The advisory committee is composed of five physicians, a dentist and a pharmacist. These two bills are in the Judiciary Committee of the Senate and House.
WVPA appreciates receiving inquiries regarding legislation from its members. WVPA will continue reporting issues of importance until the Legislature adjourns Saturday, March 14.