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License Renewal Time Is Here!
by Scott A. Meyers, Executive Vice President
March is a special month for many of us. It hosts St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, often Easter and Passover, the first signs of spring and license renewal for pharmacy technicians and students annually and pharmacists and pharmacies every other year! While the latter events are usually nothing to celebrate, they do provide all of us with our livelihoods, and while they are not free, they are relatively reasonable considering that we can’t work without them.
This year, 2016 in case you haven’t noticed yet, we get to renew all of our licenses, so I hope my message this month will save many of you consternation, confusion and possible heartache next month! I hope to provide some helpful tips and observations for this renewal period and for the next for all our members.
Tip #1 – Don’t wait until the last minute! We’ve told you before and we'll warn you again, renewing on the last day of March does not mean you will be able to work on April 1st and that’s no joke! Even if you renew online, it takes the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation 6-10 business days to complete the process. If your license renewal does not show up online, you cannot work! It’s that simple. PIC’s should really pay attention to this, because if an inspector shows up at your door and some of the staff working that day don’t show up online as renewed, your license is going to be in trouble, too! Time for some tough love early and often.
Tip #2 – Pharmacists, make sure your CPE is done. You have from April 1, 2014 until March 31, 2016 to complete 30 hours of continuing pharmacy education, although if you follow Tip #1, you should have it all completed by March 1st! Certified Pharmacy Technicians, this is a warm up for you as you will need 20 hours of CPE credits next year at this time with a new law in effect. Student Pharmacists and regular pharmacy technicians, this tip does not apply to you.
Tip #3 – If you are delinquent with your student loans or owe child support, you will not be able to renew online. So you need to plan ahead even more! You can contact the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation at (800) 560-6420. Again, this is another process you will want to start on early.
Tip #4 – If you don’t have your NABP ID number yet, you definitely should get it! And tell your colleagues! This year, CPE audits will be done post-relicensure and will use NABP’s CPE Monitor as the initial check. If you don’t have the right amount of credits, you will receive a letter requesting proof of completion. But here’s the catch, if you don’t have enough credits on CPE Monitor, you’re going to have trouble proving anything. ACPE has required all CPE providers to require the NABP ID number since January 1, 2013. And all ACPE providers have had to report CPE credits to CPE Monitor during that same time period. Finally, all CPE providers are prohibited by ACPE to provide statements of credit for completed programs since then also. So if you don’t have an NABP ID number now, you should probably start praying, too!
Tip #5 – The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation staff have indicated that they plan to use CPE Monitor prospectively beginning in 2017 with certified pharmacy technician CPE audits and in 2018 for the pharmacists. By prospectively, they mean in advance of relicensure, so that if a registrant is deficient 60-90 days in advance of the renewal deadline, the registrant will receive a letter or email from the Department indicating that they must provide proof of completion along with their license renewal or it will not be accepted. This will be a dramatic change from past practices and a rude awakening for those who consistently fail to complete their CPE! (Note: CPE Monitor is easy to access and provides a comprehensive folder for all of your Illinois (ACPE accredited) approved CPE credits.)
Tip #6 – If you haven’t completed your CPE requirements this year, admit it on your renewal. Falsely attesting that you have completed your CPE requirements and getting caught will result a disciplinary action. Admitting you have not completed your CPE requirements may result in a fine and additional credit requirement, but it will not show up on your permanent pharmacist record.
Tip #7 – Make sure the Department has your email address. Notices will be sent out initially via email to those registrants who have email addresses. So watch for them. Those without emails will be notified by mail, which we know moves much slower and eventually may be phased out as the Department works hard to become paperless.
Hopefully these tips will help you and your staff meet this year’s and future years’ license renewal and CPE requirements. As always, you can forward your license renewal or other questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And tell your non-member colleagues, I’ll answer one free question for them too, but then they have to join ICHP for the next one. Why should you pay so that they can keep working?!