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Collaborative Pharmaceutical Task Force Deliberations (April 2019)
Still Closer to Voting, but Different Opinions Appear
by Scott A. Meyers, Executive Vice Presiden
At the April 9th Collaborative Pharmaceutical Task Force meeting, the discussion began like it has several times before with a review of the grounds for discipline in the Act Rules. This time, there was limited debate with general agreement on the following major components:
- Advertising or soliciting that may jeopardize the health, safety, or welfare of the patient including but not limited to, advertising or soliciting that:
Is false, fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading, or
Makes any claim regarding a professional service or product or the cost or price thereof which cannot be substantiated by the licensee, or
Requiring pharmacists to participate in such activities.
- Failure to provide a working environment for all pharmacy personnel that protects the health, safety, and welfare of a patient which includes, but is not limited to:
- Sufficient personnel to prevent fatigue, distraction, or other conditions that interfere with a pharmacist’s ability to practice with competency and safety or creates an environment that jeopardizes patient care
- Appropriate opportunities for uninterrupted rest periods and meal breaks.
- Adequate time for a pharmacist to complete professional duties and responsibilities including, but not limited to:
- Drug regimen review
- Verification of the accuracy of a prescription; and
- All other duties and responsibilities of a pharmacist as specified in the Pharmacy Practice Act Administrative Rules Part 1330.
- Introducing external factors such as productivity or production quotas or other programs to the extent that they interfere with the ability to provide appropriate professional services to the public.
- Incenting or inducing the transfer of a prescription absent professional rationale.
- Anyone reporting violations of this section to the Department are specifically protected under the Illinois Whistle Blower Act (740 ILCS 174/15(b).
The Task Force discussed activities that could be conducted when the pharmacist is out of the pharmacy. The general consensus of the group was that dispensing of pharmacist-checked refilled prescriptions could occur along with the continued filling of all prescriptions up to the step of pharmacist final check. In addition, the pharmacist could require the patient or their agent to wait until they return for counseling on new prescriptions or specific refills. If the patient or their agent was unable to wait for counseling, pharmacist-checked prescriptions may be dispensed as long as the pharmacist attempts to contact the patient or agent by phone when they return. Revised language will be presented at the May meeting for (hopefully) final review.
The final discussion covered changes or clarifications to the role of the pharmacy technician. The proposal would now only prohibit technicians from participating in the following:
- Patient counseling
- Drug regimen review
- Clinical conflict resolution
All pharmacy technicians would continue to be able to receive new prescriptions from prescriber offices by telephone, while certified pharmacy technicians would now be able to receive and provide transfers of prescriptions, administer immunizations, and receive controlled substance prescriptions from prescriber offices by telephone.
In addition, proposed language was generally accepted that would require that after January 1, 2022, all new pharmacy technicians shall complete an accredited education and training program approved by the Department. The ASHP/ACPE program will be cited as an example of an acceptable program. In addition, no technician may perform a function for which they have not been appropriately trained and that training documented.
While there was general consensus on all topics, the representative of the Illinois State Medical Society expressed concerns on several issues. ISMS is opposed to the expansion of the scope of practice of any health care professional and may be the dissenting vote on many of the Task Force’s final recommendations.
The next meeting of the Task Force will take place at 1:30 pm on Tuesday, May 14th in both Springfield and Chicago. Frontline pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are encouraged to attend to provide real-life experiences when discussing specific topics. The next meeting may produce votes on grounds for discipline, procedures for when the pharmacist is out of the pharmacy and expanding the roles of pharmacy technicians. Meeting location details will be posted on the Department website at www.idfpr.com/profs/Boards/PharmTaskForce.asp