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The Bills, Task Force and COVID-19
by Scott A. Meyers, Executive Vice President
If there is a silver lining with the current pandemic, it is that the Illinois General Assembly is not in session. One of my favorite Mark Twain quotes is “No man’s life, liberty and property are safe when the legislature is in session”. Having said this and knowing that the KeePosted is not the most timely source of legislative information, I urge everyone to take a weekly look at the ICHP website “Advocacy” page to see if the session has re-convened and if the problem bills have begun to move. For right now, I will highlight just a couple of bills so that you will have some bill numbers to focus on.
- SB2972 - Allows pharmacists to dispense hormonal contraceptives by standing order.
- SB3147 - Allows pharmacists to dispense smoking cessation products by standing order (including prescription products).
- SB3266 - Would require hospitals and surgery centers to offer to provide multi-dose medications to patients upon discharge with proper outpatient labeling.
- HB4362 - Creates the Wholesale Importation of Prescription Drugs Act and allows importation from Canada.
- HB4475 - Changes the decision to declare an emergency with regard to the 12-hour shift length limit from the pharmacist to the PIC. This bill may also be a vehicle for other changes related to the new “Pharmacy Working Conditions” section of the Practice Act (meal and rest break records and resident shift length).
- HB5659 - Creates a Disciplinary Review Board to oversee pharmacy-related disciplines by the Department.
There are many more bills that will impact pharmacy directly or indirectly but your best bet is to Whitelist e-mails from ichpnet.org and also check the Advocacy page on the ICHP website weekly to stay up-to-date.
Moving on to the Collaborative Pharmaceutical Task Force, which met in February and March this year and has agreed on a few points already. They are:
Reconfirmed support for implementation of a CQI program for every pharmacy with all internal documents protected for discovery for criminal or civil purposes.
Establishment of a new Task Force focused on new and more appropriate reimbursement models for pharmacist-provided patient care services.
The Task Force will also review problems with implementation of meal break requirements, 12-hour shift length limits for residents, and other pharmacy working condition concerns. In addition, new topics for the Task Force to consider include:
- Point of care testing
- Standardized standing order processes from IDPH
- Medication administration by pharmacists
- Review of longevity of prescription refills
- Methods for better enforcement of existing pharmacy regulations
The next meeting of the Task Force was tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, April 21st, and the May meeting is tentatively scheduled for the 12th. Each meeting of the Task Force is held in Chicago and Springfield, with exact room locations to be determined by the Department. Task Force meetings are open to the public with limited input from audience members.
Finally, ICHP has been working on the COVID-19 pandemic and the ICHP office staff have established a COVID-19 Resource page on the ICHP website. The page includes a variety of documents including:
- CDC COVID-19 website
- ASHP COVID-19 resource page
- Multiple documents from State of Illinois Agencies and IPhA
- Updates from USP
ICHP staff continue to post new resources nearly daily.
In addition, we are working with Garth Reynolds of IPhA to seek a variety of waivers from the Pharmacy Practice Act and Rules by the Governor, the IDFPR Secretary, and staff. A joint document from ICHP, IPhA and IALTCPP is posted on www.ichpnet.org