Committee Reports from Past Legislative Sessions

2016


Legislative Summary as of mid May 2016

 

The CT General Assembly did not pass a budget before their midnight May 4th deadline, so a special session was called for May 12th. It is anticipated that a very large implementer bill may also be part of this session, in which many bills are grouped together and held as a single vote.

 

However, we do know of a few legislative actions that were finalized before the deadline. These include the passing of An Act Increasing Access to Overdose Reversal Drugs, which improves a previous bill on the use of opioid antagonists by not holding a health professional liable for any damages in the administration of an antagonist, opening up availability to first responders, prohibiting insurance companies from instituting prior authorizations of an antagonist, limiting the initial prescription of an opioid drug to 7 days, and changes to the electronic prescription monitoring program to require reporting of a dispensed controlled substance within 24 hours of dispensing.

 

Bills and potential bills that did not pass include a change in the pharmacist vaccination administration from the current minimum age of 18 to 12 and Medicaid reimbursement for pharmacist medication management services. There has been discussion of a change in strategy for next year's legislative session regarding medication management reimbursement by focusing our efforts away from Medicaid and toward commercial payers. More information on that initiative is forthcoming.


2015


posted October 8, 2015
Connecticut House Speaker Rules Out Special Session On Hospital Medicaid Cuts.
The Connecticut Post (10/2) reports that Connecticut House Speaker Brendan Sharkey (D) “on Thursday ruled out the possibility of a special session to reconsider the governor’s cuts to state hospitals.” The article notes Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s (D) cuts to the current year’s budget would reduce Medicaid funding for state hospitals by about $63 million. “We are not in crisis and a special session is not necessary and would be counter-productive,” Sharkey said, adding, “I still plan to work with the leadership of the Senate to identify cuts that will help restore funding to local hospitals.”
(source: ASHP Daily Briefing)

posted October 15, 2015
Only 1 CT legislator has signed on so we urge you to contact your representatives.

Provider Status Legislation Reaches Milestone   http://cqrcengage.com/ashp/app/write-a-letter?0&engagementId=76964
A majority of the members of the House of Representatives now support provider status legislation! While this is an important milestone, it's critical that we continue to add cosponsors and reaffirm the commitment of those legislators who are already listed as supporters. Send an e-mail to your members of Congress asking them to support provider status. Personalize the e-mail provided with examples from your practice that demonstrate the value you bring to the healthcare team. (source: ASHP)

Posted August 20, 2015
CSHP AND ASHP NEEDS YOU!  THIS IS YOUR CALL TO ACTION!
Please reach out to your members of Congress or send a letter supporting the Provider status bill if you haven’t already done so.
 
At this time only 33 more cosponsors are needed in the House to get to the “magic” number of 218, which means a majority of representatives would likely vote for the bill.  Currently in Connecticut there is only 1 Co-Sponsor

To find out who represents you in CT government and an interactive map to help you find your legislator, see above.

Click on the "ASHP National Advocacy" page for informative tools to help you when you make contact.
CSHP Legislative and Advocacy Initiatives

Legislative Committee Update: May 2015
With one month to go in the Connecticut legislative session, CSHP continues to monitor the many healthcare related bills that affect pharmacy practice, and specifically health systems pharmacy in Connecticut and in Congress. In Connecticut, bills that continue to be active that we are following include those involving the dispensing or administering of opioid antagonists (HB5782 & HB6856), the requirement of manufacturer information on generic prescription drug labels for MedWatch reporting (SB28), health insurance coverage for off-label prescription drugs (SB418), in addition to many other bills that look to be dying in committee or not making it to a final floor vote.

A bill of specific interest that CSHP is advocating for, along with the other pharmacy organizations and pharmacy schools in the State, continues to be Medicaid reimbursement for pharmacist medication management services. While this bill has not been raised in committee, it does have the interest of many legislators and may be added into the session-ending implementer bill. The interest of legislators continues to be the cost-saving aspects of pharmacist medication management provided to high-risk Medicaid patients. Click to read a document on this advocacy, which includes background information on the topic, and suggested legislative language for the implementer bill.

At this late point in the legislative session, we strongly urge you to talk with any of your House or Senate members that may be your representatives from where you live or where you work. All of them may play a role in the final implementer bill vote, but particularly those that are in the House or Senate leadership or the many members of the Appropriations Committee. CSHP has been working closely with the other pharmacy organizations and schools of pharmacy in a workgroup specifically organized to advocate for this bill in this legislative session. We have seen great interest from legislators, despite their initial hesitancy given the State’s deficit, however focusing on the health cost savings that can occur within ONE YEAR of implementation greatly peaks their interest in this proposal.

The state Medicaid reimbursement initiative is similar in many ways to the federal Medicare bills being debated now in Congress (H.R.592 & S.314). Click for an overview document.Currently, there are 131 House co-sponsors (none from Connecticut, although Rep. Courtney was a co-sponsor on last year’s version, and should be supportive), and there are 15 Senate co-sponsors (also none from Connecticut, Senator Blumenthal’s health liaison has been detailed on the bill, and we expect the Senator to visit a Connecticut pharmacy soon). Your outreach through emails, calls or visits with your Congressional member will have an important role in bringing them on as co-sponsors for these bills. The more co-sponsors the bills have, the more likely the bill will have an easier time passing through committees and coming to floor votes. It’s critical to remind the House and Senate members that this legislation is completely bi-partisan, as you’ll see that there is currently a virtual even distribution in party affiliations of co-sponsors – there is a strong desire to support bipartisan bills in Congress, especially those that can provide health cost savings and improve health outcomes.

Click for March 16, 2015 CE Program Materials
"The Stars are Aligned for State and Federal Pharmacist Reimbursement:
Why You Are the Key to Success!"

CSHP Legislative and Advocacy Initiatives

Initial Report 2015

The Connecticut General Assembly has convened their legislative session with a relatively similar membership of Representatives and Senators from the previous session. The House (87-64) and Senate (21-15) will continue to have a Democratic majority; however the leadership of both chambers and many committees has changed. The list of leadership positions and committee members are attached to this report. Advocating for issues important to the pharmacy profession will be much more effective if you know your own Representative and Senator, particularly if they are members of important committees to many of our issues, i.e. the Public Health Committee, General Law Committee, and Human Services Committee. It is also important to note that the Department of Consumer Protection has a new Commissioner, Jonathan Harris, who has been an important advocate in previous pharmacy legislative issues such as collaborative practice, when he was Chair of the Public Health Committee.

With the beginning of the legislative session we have important information to announce. In recent months, CSHP has worked closely with other entities in the pharmacy and medical community to discuss legislation for reimbursement of pharmacist medication management services to Medicaid patients. We’re happy to state that this week legislative language was submitted and accepted into the Public Health Committee by Representative Theresa Conroy. Here is the current language for what is now considered a “concept bill”:

“The Department of Social Services shall pay credentialed pharmacists for Medication Therapy Management services for beneficiaries taking 3 or more chronic medications to improve medication safety and health outcomes.”

There will be a long way to go in this process, as we anticipate multiple variations to the language as it goes through various committees, a public hearing, and a fiscal analysis. CSHP will be part of a work group consisting of representatives from CPA, CT-ASCP, and the UConn and St. Joseph Schools of Pharmacy. This group will work collaboratively to shepherd the bill through the legislative process and provide leadership for their members to advocate for the bill. Achieving medication management reimbursement for Medicaid patients would be a landmark achievement for our profession, and a significant complement to the federal Medicare provider recognition initiative, which Joe Hill described at this year’s Catch the Wave Conference as ASHP’s major legislative goal. Strengthening our initiative is the timely release from the National Governors Association titled “The Expanding Role of Pharmacists in a Transformed Health Care System.” The document is attached to this report, and has also been submitted to the Public Health Committee and Governor Malloy, as evidence of the widely recognized importance of pharmacist medication management services to improve therapeutic outcomes and reduce health care costs.

CSHP will continue to update you on the progress of this legislative initiative and coordinate how you can become an important advocate to your legislator to make this law a reality.


2014

The Connecticut General Assembly 2014 regular session ran from February 5th to May 7th. Since it was a short session this year, there were not opportunities for too many new legislative initiatives to be introduced. However, CSHP  monitorrf continuing legislative activity, including bills that may have been introduced previously and died in committees, and any potential amendments to bills that would affect pharmacy practice. We received bill tracking reports every week that screened the hundreds of bills which could impact our profession or health care at large.

 

Members had an opportunity to interact with legislators and their staff during Pharmacy Day at the Capitol, which is a yearly reception in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building, sponsored jointly by the state pharmacy organizations. 

 

In addition to monitoring legislative activity on the state and national level, CSHP also was involved in discussions with the Pharmacy Commission on a proposal to institute “tech-check-tech” (TCT) capabilities for interested hospitals. The UConn School of Pharmacy and CSHP sent a survey to all hospital pharmacies to assess various dispensing practices, the credentialing and use of technicians, and the desire to use TCT services at their institution. Collaborations with all interested parties (i.e. pharmacy organizations, hospitals, Pharmacy Commission, Drug Control) took place after analysis of the survey results. The survey results also will be released in the CSHP newsletter at a later date. Stay tuned for more details for this exciting initiative that will be one of Connecticut’s contributions to the continuing Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative (PPMI), ASHP’s commitment to improving institutional pharmacy practice.


May 2014 CSHP Legislative Session Outcomes

The 2014 legislative session wrapped up in May with the usual flurry of last minute votes and the annual “implementor” bill that typically combines over 100 unrelated bills that hadn’t passed previously – it passed at 11:47pm, with 13 minutes in the session to spare! With the needless confusion this process creates, it makes it quite challenging to even find bills of specific interest to the general pharmacy and health-systems pharmacy community. With the assistance of our CSHP lobbyist, Fred Knous, and his bill tracking operation, we were able to comment on various bills throughout the session and oversee language changes in some cases.

 

In addition to monitoring the legislative session, CSHP has taken the lead on initiating efforts to explore tech-check-tech (TCT) opportunities in Connecticut hospitals. A survey has gone out to all hospital pharmacy directors/managers on the use and training of their technicians, current technology used for dispensing operations in their facilities, and the desirability of TCT in their institution. In addition to the statewide survey, a compilation of current TCT practices in other states has been conducted to assess various methods of implementation and success rates. We will continue to be in discussion with various entities in the state regarding potential TCT implementation, including the Pharmacy Commission, Drug Control, the Connecticut Hospital Association and other pharmacy organizations.
2013 Legislative Session Outcomes
The Connecticut General Assembly ended their legislative session on June 5th and CSHP was monitoring numerous bills throughout the session.
Click for a end of session summary of all bills of interest, beginning with bills that passed)


Legislative News from Congress (July 2013)

  • It is in health care providers’ best interest to make the healthcare reform initiatives authorized in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) work effectively and efficiently. Until the expected savings estimated to be forthcoming in the next decade from that reorganization federal funding for programs other than ACA programs will continue to face reductions. A case in point is the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Established in the ACA to provide supplemental funds for new program development and current program enhancements, the Fund is being used by the Administration as funding support for many programs for which there are funds authorized but not appropriated within the ACA. Of the $1.5 billion to be authorized to be appropriated for FY14 nearly half will be used to support and sustain existing programs within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of greater concern are the Administration’s cuts to existing programs recommended in the FY14 budget recommendation to support ACA implementation efforts. If Congress does not appropriate sufficient funds the Administration can be expected to maximize the use of transfer authority given to the Secretary of HHS to ensure that ACA programs are implemented…even at the cost of current, non-ACA programs. So, it is imperative that programs are implemented as quickly as possible. The estimated billions in savings are need to sustain traditionally federally funded programs.
  • New patient safety resource: Nearly 20% of Medicare beneficiaries discharged from the hospital are readmitted within 30 days. The number one cause of that readmission…an adverse drug event. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released a new patient safety primer outlining the many problems that hospitals should pay attention to and resolve using the recommendations presented in “Adverse Events After Discharge.” One significant root cause for readmissions is poor communication among providers at transitions of care. One recommendation for reducing adverse medication events during transitions is for the hospital to have in place a formal medication reconciliation process.
  • FDA makes new MedWatch tool available: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now has a web-based tool to improve use of MedWatch adverse event reporting forms. MedWatchLearn allows health professionals, health professions students and consumers to practice completing the MedWatch form. The intent of this practice is to build greater confidence and increase the likelihood that the health professional, student or consumer will complete the form EVERYTIME they identify a problem with an FDA approved drug or medical device.
  • CDC to pilot HIV MTM with providers: The Tuesday, June 18, 2013 edition of the Federal Register includes a notice by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The notice seeks public comment on the development of a new project between the CDC and Walgreens. The project would place community pharmacists with primary medical providers of HIV positive patients in ten pilot sites. The pharmacists will be responsible for providing medication therapy management related to HIV care. CDC is seeking comment on the MTM project, its approach to implementation, and the data set it will collect from the sites to aid in analysis of the project’s success and challenges.
  • ASHP comments on Draft Version of House Compounding Bill (6/24/13): Clear lines need to be defined between traditional compounding and compounding outsourcers, ASHP told the author of a draft compounding bill set to be considered by the House of Representatives. In a letter last week to Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), the Society noted that pharmacists who practice in hospital and health-system settings need to be assured that entities compound large scale, non-patient specific preparations are properly supervised to enable patients to receive safe medications. The draft legislation keeps traditional pharmacy compounding, including compounding within a hospital or health system, under the authority of state boards of pharmacy.

Winter 2013 Update

There was a lot of debate and federal level information about the compounding issue shared at the ASHP Midyear and also at CSHP's January CE meeting. It's likely there will be bills raised or at least discussions about this topic in our state legislature as well. We will determine how to respond, as appropriate, and may request input from our members as needed. Also on the federal level, ASHP indicated that they will make pharmacist provider recognition their number one legislative agenda in Congress this year. CSHP applauds this decision and has supported this initiative for over 10 years. Federal provider recognition would open the door for Medicare reimbursement for pharmacist medication management services, and may persuade Medicaid and commercial payers to consider this reimbursement option as well. CSHP will actively work toward opportunities in this area.

Finally, CSHP has begun discussions with the CT Pharmacy Commission on considering "tech-check-tech" authorization utilizing bar code technology. Multiple hospital pharmacy directors have expressed the desire to pursue this change in status as a PPMI initiative. We will continue to update the membership as activity occurs.

Legislative Session 2010

 

Convened: February 3, 2010
Adjourned: May 5, 2010

 

2010 CSHP Legislative Agenda and Results

 

HB 5290: An Act Concerning the Administration of Vaccines By Licensed Pharmacists expands immunization authority for pharmacists to provide all adult vaccines. CSHP supported this bill. 
Status: Passed

 

RB 262: An Act Concerning Collaborative Drug Therapy Management Agreements expands collaborative practice authority to all practice settings and disease states. CSHP supported this bill and has been advocating for collaborative practice since 1994.  Status: Passed

 

RB 5307: An Act Concerning the Filling of Prescriptions for Antiepileptic Drugs prohibits substitution of antiepileptic medications. CSHP opposed this bill. Status: Uncertain

 

HB 5212: An Act Concerning Insurance Coverage of Bleeding Disorders prohibits substitution of drugs for bleeding disorders. CSHP opposed this bill. Status: Tabled on House Calendar