Submitted by Thomas Buckley, RPh, MPH, CSHP Legislative ChairWe are certainly living in interesting times, and it has dramatically affected all of our lives and the activity at our State Capitol. With the rapidly changing news of the coronavirus, Pharmacy Day at the Capitol on March 10th was canceled at the last minute, as all public events at the Legislative Office Building and Capitol were canceled for at least two weeks.
At the time of this writing, it looks like all remaining public hearings for this session will be canceled; however, written testimony can still be submitted for any bill in a committee that is still actively reviewing bills. This includes the Public Health Committee, and CSHP has been working with that committee to see if our revised language changes for the collaborative practice law could be included in a bill that involves clinical practice changes for other health professionals.
In addition to that advocacy effort, we have been responding to a great deal of legislation that has an impact on our profession. You can find the talking points document that was prepared in collaboration with our Pharmacy Day partners at this link. This has been a particularly active short session for healthcare-related bills, and we have both given our support and opposition to a number of raised bills. These include support of the vaccine religious exemption bill, support of a diabetes bill for the affordability of insulin, and opposition to a drug importation bill.
Finally, we have reached out to our state legislators with potential ways that CSHP and our professionals can assist with the coronavirus crisis. We gave them this document from ASHP that details policy recommendations to state lawmakers how pharmacists can effectively support prevention and response efforts for outbreaks such as the COVID-19. These include actions that relate to our collaborative practice law changes, such as ensuring that pharmacists are authorized under our state pharmacy practice act to order point-of-care testing for infectious diseases, and can initiate time-sensitive therapies, such as antivirals. This also includes ensuring that pharmacists are reimbursed for direct patient care services related to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, which could be extremely impactful for future reimbursement advocacy efforts.
We are excited to have an active legislative advocacy team of Steph Luon, Cory Heck, and Tom Buckley. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions, concerns, and most importantly with your willingness to reach out to our policymakers when needed.