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June Legislative Update

OPA/OSHP Pharmacy Legislative Day, State Budget Bill, Immunization Language Changes, Other Bills

Legislative Update June 2003
Kelly Vyzral, Director of Government Affairs

OPA/OSHP Pharmacy Legislative Day

Mark Your Calendars. The OPA/OSHP Pharmacy Legislative Day has been scheduled for October 8, 2003 at the Riffe Center in downtown Columbus. You will have the opportunity to attend continuing education programming from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. You are invited to attend a legislative reception immediately following the CE from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. This reception provides you a perfect opportunity to meet your legislator, as well as the legislative leaders of the Ohio House and Senate, and talk to them about issues that affect your livelihood and the practice of pharmacy in Ohio. More information and a formal invitation will follow this summer.

HB 95: The Budget Bill

HB 95, the budget bill, was voted out of the House on April 9, 2003. It now resides in the Senate Finance and Financial Institutions Committee. OPA is closely following language in the budget that would allow the Department of Job and Family Services to create a medical management program that would reimburse pharmacists for providing consulting services to physicians who prescribe drugs for Medicaid recipients. Currently, budget testimony is being heard from government agencies. June 3 is the targeted date to have HB 95 voted out of committee. The entire Senate must then vote on the bill. Because the Senate version of the budget will differ from the version voted on by the House, the bill will be sent to conference committee. This committee must hammer out the differences between the two bills and present a compromise bill that will be voted on by both Houses. This compromise bill will then be sent to the Governor for his signature before July 1, 2003. We will continue to monitor the budget, work with the legislature throughout this process, and keep you informed.

Immunization Language.

In 2001, OPA was instrumental in the passage of SB 48 allowing pharmacists to administer the following adult immunizations: influenza, pneumococcal, tetanus, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B. As the demand for immunizations increases, the cost of medical care rises, and physician access problems continue, Ohioans are turning in greater numbers to their pharmacists. In order to address the changing needs of the community, OPA is currently looking at language that would make the following changes to the pharmacy practice act (Sec. 4729 of the Ohio Revised Code).

• Remove the word “injection.” As newer routes of administration become available for vaccines, they will be included in statute with this new language. As an example, a new nasal flu vaccine is scheduled to be on the market by the fall.

• Add the administration of epinephrine and diphenhydramine for emergency situations pursuant to physician-approved protocols.

• Remove the 30-day notification to the patient’s family physician or Department of Health.

• Add meningitis and diphtheria (i.e., tetanus/diphtheria) to the current list of approved vaccines.

• Allow pharmacy interns, who have completed the prescribed training and are working under the supervision of a pharmacist who has completed the training, to administer these vaccines.

• Remove the word “adult” when referring to who can receive a vaccination from a pharmacist, and add “persons 14 years and older.” This will be especially helpful with the meningitis vaccine, which is most effective in the 14 to 18 year age range.

Other Legislation

Because the legislature has been preoccupied with the budget over the past two months, other bills have been put on the back burner until the budget passes in June. We are still monitoring the following bills, and will continue to update their progress through the legislature.

• SB 43: Uniform Prescription Drug Card. This bill is awaiting sponsor testimony in the Senate Health Committee, and has quite a bit of bi-partisan support. It has also captured the attention of the medical community who has been pushing for a uniform insurance card. There has been talk of amending the bill to add some elements of the physicians’ insurance card. In the interest of quick passage of this important legislation, we have indicated that we are willing to work with both the medical community and insurance industry representatives, as long as the changes do not cause the bill to be slowed on its route to passage.

• SB 61/HB 146: Diabetes Coverage. At this time, sponsor testimony has been heard on HB 146, but no further testimony has been scheduled. SB 61 is awaiting committee assignment. This bill is meeting with some resistance because it is seen as a mandate bill.

• HB 142: Meningitis Vaccines. Rep. John Hagan introduced this bill on March 26, 2003. It has had sponsor testimony. Although the bill was introduced with a large number of co-sponsors, there is some concern over students being turned away from student housing if they cannot afford the vaccination. The effective date would be the 2004-2005 school year.

What is the Ohio Pharmacy PAC?
The Pharmacy Political Action Committee is a voluntary, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of pharmacists who are interested in promoting good government and public health. Pharmacy PAC money contributed by pharmacists goes to help candidates who support pharmacy in Ohio. That's right, your money is used to support political clout for Pharmacy … right here in Ohio!

To make a secure online donation to the Ohio Pharmacy PAC, $$Link,AWS_SSL:DisplayInputForm&FormID=37, CLICK HERE!$$

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