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Since the Illinois 102nd General Assembly started in January 2021, the State has enacted many bills affecting the practice of pharmacy. ICHP has been providing updates on the progress of these bills as well as taking an active role in advocating for certain bills, such as HB3497. Below is a summary of important healthcare legislation that has been passed in 2021.
Public Act 102-0016 (SB2017) - FY2022 Budget Implementation Act (Governor approved 6/17/2021): Updates the definition of the practice of pharmacy to include vaccination of patients 7 years of age and older pursuant to a valid prescription or standing order, by a physician licensed to practice medicine in all its branches, upon completion of appropriate training, including how to address contraindications and adverse reactions set forth by rule, with notification to the patient's physician and appropriate record retention, or pursuant to hospital pharmacy and therapeutics committee policies and procedures.
Public Act 102-0389 (HB119) - Prescription Drug Repository (Governor approved 8/16/2021): This act creates a drug repository program for the State of Illinois to which prescription drugs or supplies may be donated, provided that specified conditions are met. Drugs from the repository are considered nonsaleable, except for a reasonable handling fee. Pharmacies and pharmacists are not required to participate. Manufacturers and individuals participating in this repository are provided civil and criminal immunity.
Public Act 102-0103 (HB135) - Ins Code-Birth Control (Governor approved 7/22/2021): This act allows pharmacists to provide hormonal contraceptives to patients under a standing order from the Department of Public Health. This amends the Illinois Insurance Code to require group or individual policies to provide coverage for these pharmacist-provided services. This act is effective January 1, 2022. However, the amendment to the Illinois Insurance Code becomes effective January 1, 2023.
Public Act 102-0004 (HB158) – Health Care & Human Services (Governor approved 4/27/2021): Among various provisions, this act provides that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must obtain at least 1 hour of continuing education in implicit bias training during their renewal period, starting in the 2022 renewal period. ICHP recognizes the need for such continuing education for the upcoming license renewal and is investigating how it may best help its members meet this CE requirement.
Public Act 102-0121 (HB279) - Drug Labeling-Gluten (Governor approved 7/23/2021): This act amends the Illinois Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and provides that an oral drug is considered misbranded if gluten is included as an inactive ingredient and is not so listed on its label. This act does not apply to pharmacies or pharmacists.
Public Act 102-0409 (HB711) - Prior Authorization Reform Act (Governor approved 8/19/2021): This act was created with the goal of decreasing the influence of third-party payers on the patient-physician relationship, decreasing interference of third-party payers in physician decision-making, and increasing transparency of prior authorization programs.
Public Act 102-0185 (HB739) - Disease-Trichomoniasis (Governor approved 7/30/2021): This act amends the Illinois Sexually Transmitted Disease Control Act to add trichomoniasis to the list of STDs for which health care professionals may provide antibiotic treatment for the partners of infected individuals if those partners are unlikely or unable to present for comprehensive healthcare.
Public Act 102-0391 (HB1745) - Insurance-Prescription Drug Benefits (Governor approved 8/16/2021): This act amends the Managed Care Reform and Patient Rights Act. This act imposes requirements on health insurance carriers that they provide a certain number of health care plans that apply a flat-dollar copayment structure to the entire drug benefit. For individual plans, carriers must ensure at least 10% of their plans have flat-dollar copayment structure by January 1, 2023, and at least 25% by January 1, 2024. For group plans, carriers must offer at least one group health plan with this copayment structure by January 1, 2023, and at least two plans by January 1, 2024.
Public Act 102-0104 (HB3308) - Insurance-Telehealth Services (Governor approved 7/22/2021): This act amends the Illinois Insurance Code to improve insurance coverage of telehealth services. It provides that insurers shall not require that patients have prior in-person contact with the health care provider. Also, insurers shall not require proof of hardship or access barriers. Regarding reimbursement, insurers are required to cover telehealth services as they cover in-person services. Additional prior authorizations, different cost-sharing, and different reimbursement rates are prohibited by this act.
Public Act 102-0482 (HB3497) – Regulation-Tech (Governor approved 8/20/2021): This bill, now a public act, was initiated by ICHP. Before, the Illinois Board of Pharmacy did not have positions dedicated to an inpatient practicing pharmacist or a pharmacy technician, and ICHP believes that these key stakeholders in the practice of pharmacy should be represented on the Board. This law requires that one of the board members of the Board of Pharmacy be an inpatient practicing pharmacist and that one be a pharmacy technician. The number of board members is increased accordingly to 11.
Public Act 102-0490 (HB3596) - Controlled Substances-Opioids (Governor approved 8/20/2021): This act amends the Illinois Controlled Substances Act. It requires that prescriptions for Schedule II-V substances must be sent electronically, except if a prescriber certifies to the Department that he or she will not issue more than 25 such prescriptions in a 12-month period.
Public Act 102-0084 (SB194) - Pharmacy-Remote Processing (Governor approved 7/9/2021): This act amends the Pharmacy Practice Act. It provides that a student pharmacist or licensed pharmacy technician engaged in remote prescription processing of dialysate or devices necessary for home peritoneal renal dialysis at a licensed pharmacy shall be permitted to access an employer pharmacy’s database remotely while under the supervision of a pharmacist.
Public Act 102-0155 (SB579) - Facility-provided Medications (Governor approved 7/9/2021): This act became effective July 1, 2021. It requires hospitals and facilities to offer a patient any unused portion of a “facility-provided” medication upon discharge when it is administered to a patient and is necessary for continued treatment. “Facility-provided” medication is defined under Section 15.10 of the Pharmacy Practice Act as any topical antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, dilation, or glaucoma drop/ointment. Under this definition, this law applies to ophthalmic medications. This requirement only applies to medications ordered at least 24 hours in advance for surgical procedures. The pharmacist’s counseling requirement is waived, and the prescriber is required to counsel instead. Any medications must be labeled in accordance with the Pharmacy Practice Act.
Public Act 102-0400 (SB1682) - Pharmacy-Price Disclosure (Governor approved 8/16/2021): This act amends the Pharmacy Practice Act. It provides that pharmacies must disclose to the consumer at the point of sale the current pharmacy retail price for each prescription the consumer intends to purchase. Also, pharmacies must disclose if the pharmacy retail price is less than the patient’s cost-sharing amount. This act also requires that pharmacies post a notice informing customers that they may request the current usual and customary retail price for prescriptions and removes the limit to the number of disclosure requests that may be made.
Public Act 102-0527 (SB1842) - Controlled Substances-Opioids (Governor approved 8/20/2021): This act amends the Illinois Controlled Substances Act and provides that the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program may issue a report to prescribers and dispensers when a patient has 5 (previously 3) or more prescribers or 5 (previously 3) or more pharmacies that do not have a common electronic file for controlled substances in a 6-month period (previously a 30-day period).The intent of this change is to decrease the rate of false negatives identified by the Prescription Monitoring Program.
Public Act 102-0643 (SB2172) - Pharmacy Practice-Sunset (Governor approved 8/27/2021): This act provides that beginning January 1, 2024 (rather than January 1, 2022), it shall be the joint responsibility of a pharmacy and its pharmacist in charge to ensure that all new pharmacy technicians complete a standard nationally accredited training program, such as those accredited by ACPE/ASHP, or other board approved training programs.
As the practice of pharmacy evolves, it is vital that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians take an active role in advocating for the change they wish to see. To keep track of current legislation or to access current state laws, one may visit the ICHP advocacy webpage or the Illinois General Assembly website (https://www.ilga.gov/