Legislative Update December 2001
Alyson Welsh, Director of Government AffairsState Board of Pharmacy Votes to Change CE Requirements
On October 1, 2001, the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy voted to accept the recommendation of its Ad Hoc Rules Review Committee to propose dropping the current requirement for “patient care” continuing education. Currently, 45 of the 60 hours to be reported every three years must be in “patient care” topics. These are designated by the “01” or “02” suffix in program numbers. The requirement for a minimum of three (3) of the 60 hours in Board-approved jurisprudence programs remains. The other 57 hours would be courses that are fitting to your practice. This proposed change was filed with JCARR (Joint Commission on Agency Rule Review) early this month. If approved by JCARR, the State Board is expected to make a decision on the effective date. We will keep you informed.
Another proposed rule would allow for the submission of evidence of continuing education and other personal information, prior to, and separate from, the actual license renewal submission. The Board will make its final determination on the rule changes soon. Copies of the proposed rule changes are available on the State Board of Pharmacy website at www.state.oh.us/pharmacy
Freedom of Access Bill Moving Ahead...Slowly
Thanks to everyone who made phone calls to members of the Ohio House Health & Family Services Committee members to urge legislators’ support for House Bill 53! OPA’s “Call To Action” newsletter was a huge success. We heard from many legislators about the calls they received from pharmacists around Ohio urging their support for HB 53. This personal communication is crucial as we continue to gain momentum and support for this important piece of legislation.
HB 53, sponsored by State Representative Bryan Williams (R-Akron), would allow any pharmacy to enter into a contract with a health insurance company as long as the pharmacy is willing to accept the same terms and conditions already in place. In summary, HB 53 would allow for competition in the pharmacy marketplace and also would allow patients to choose their pharmacy provider.
HB 53 was scheduled for a “Possible Vote” in the House Health & Family Services Committee on Wednesday, October 31, 2001. However, the Ohio House of Representatives was encompassed with the state budget problems that entire day. The committee held a brief hearing. Although five people were scheduled to testify in support of the bill (including OPA lobbyists) and three in opposition, Norman Billups, former dean of the University of Toledo College of Pharmacy, was the only witness. Dr. Billups affirmed his support for the bill and the necessity for Freedom of Access, especially with the current veering of many insurance companies’ pharmacy benefits to mandatory mail order. He explained that, in many cases, the local pharmacy isn’t able to fill many long time patients’ prescriptions if their insurance requires them to use the mail order program they have in place. Dr. Billups explained that this bill would allow their local pharmacist to fill that prescription for the same price if they were able to do so.
OPA expects HB 53 to again be on the agenda of the committee when the legislature reconvenes in January 2002. Be on the lookout for another call to action from OPA to support HB 53!
Ohio Dangerous Drug Database
The Ohio State Board of Pharmacy, in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies, is proposing the creation of a “Dangerous Drug Database.” This database would be created to monitor the use, misuse and diversion of dangerous drugs. Under this proposal, pharmacists would be required to electronically submit the following information to the Board:
- Patient identification
- Identification of the drug dispensed
- Quantity of the drug dispensed
- Date of the dispensing
- Directions for use
- Serial number assigned by the terminal distributor
- Terminal distributor’s license number issued by the Board
- Identification of the prescriber
The information in the dangerous drug database would be retained by the Board for two years. Pharmacists or prescribers, along with state, federal, county, township or municipal officers and representatives of government entities who are involved in investigations of a licensed health care professional, could obtain information from this dangerous drug database. Pharmacists and prescribers would be required to submit their requests on a form to be developed by the Board, and must prove that it would be used for the purpose of providing medical or pharmaceutical care to a current patient.
The Board is working with State Representative Tom Raga (R-Mason) who will sponsor this legislation, which has not yet been introduced.
OPA will continue to work with the Board and Rep. Raga to explain our concerns on this proposal. Please let us know your opinion.
Nursing Home Medicaid Reimbursement Bill
State Representative Michelle Schneider (R-Cincinnati) has introduced a bill that would put in Ohio law Medicaid reimbursement for pharmacy services provided to nursing home residents. House Bill 429 was introduced on October 31, 2001.
HB 429 sets the reimbursement for the first quarter of 2003 to be Wholesale Acquisition Cost (WAC) plus 9 percent, plus any applicable dispensing fee. Then, for each remaining quarter, the reimbursement shall be determined by comparing the provider’s average monthly cost of providing services in the preceding quarter to the statewide average cost. If the pharmacy’s cost is equal to or greater than the statewide average, the reimburse-ment is WAC plus 9 percent, plus any applicable dispensing fee. If the provider’s costs are lower than the statewide average, the reimbursement shall be WAC plus 11 percent, plus any applicable dispensing fee, plus 50 percent of the difference between the provider’s average costs and the statewide average costs.
HB 429 has not yet been assigned to a committee. OPA will continue to monitor this legislation.