The 2011 legislative session has officially begun in most state capitals in recent weeks and there’s already plenty of activity that could affect independent pharmacists and their patients – reinforcing the need for grassroots involvement.
In many ways, the action has moved to the state level, including efforts to improve Medicaid and lower costs. While NCPA will continue to stand up for patients and pharmacists on this front, other state issues can’t be overlooked. Expanded immunizations, e-prescribing and regulating pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are also on the docket.
There is no better advocate for patients and the pharmacy profession than community pharmacists themselves. Members of state and federal legislatures want to hear from their constituents. The opinions of health care professionals are particularly important. Visit NCPA’s Legislative Action Center for helpful grassroots tips and techniques.
The current state legislative session abounds with important debates. Here are some notable state bills of interest to community pharmacists:
New Jersey S.B. 162 was introduced to further regulate “pharmacy benefits management companies.” West Virginia recently introduced H.B. 2162 to require the licensure of pharmacy benefit managers and South Carolina proposed similar legislation in H.B. 3182.
In Mississippi HB 745 requires PBMs to inform plan sponsors of any rebates received from drug manufacturers. The New York legislature is busy with a similar bill, New York A.B. 809, which requires PBMs to assume a fiduciary relationship with and obligation to the health plan or provider. Utah H.B. 16 seeks to require a PBM to provide an itemized statement when requesting or accepting payment or reimbursement for a pharmacy service from a health benefit plan or disclosing an expenditure for a pharmacy service to a health benefit plan. South Carolina H.B. 182 requires PBMs to notify patients when making drug substitutions when the drug costs are not equal.
New York A.B. 863 requires the use of uniform prescription drug information cards or technology for claims processing in a form approved by NCPDP and acceptable to the commissioner.
Indiana H.B. 1034 allows a pharmacist to administer an immunization for influenza, shingles, or pneumonia to an individual or group of individuals under a drug order, prescription or according to protocol approved by a physician. Indiana H.B. 1073 allows a pharmacist to administer an immunization using any vaccine.
Other Bills of Note
Oregon S.B. 197 prohibits the Oregon Health Authority from discriminating based on claims volume in rates of reimbursement for dispensing prescription drugs in medical assistance program. West Virginia S.B. 77 establishes a medication therapy management (MTM) pilot program for Medicaid recipients.
Stay active in your state and federal legislative debates. Your opinion as a trusted medical professional is valued by policy makers. If you want to communicate with your lawmakers, or need help to find who represents you, visit the NCPA website’s Legislative Action Center.