California Law Expands Pharmacists’ Role as Providers

NCPA congratulates California pharmacists and the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) on the successful enactment of S.B. 493, legislation to expand the services that pharmacists are authorized to provide in the state. It was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Oct. 1.

This legislation will take important steps to allow pharmacists to provide patients care at a level they are educated and fully capable of providing. Specifically, S.B. 493 will allow pharmacists to perform physical assessments; order and interpret laboratory tests; refer patients to other providers; start, adjust and terminate medications under physician protocol; as well as work with other health care providers to evaluate and manage a patient’s health issues. 

The bill is also notable for its collaborative approach to other health care providers. It is supported by many healthcare related organizations including the California Association for Nurse Practitioners, the California Association of Physician Groups and the California Hospital Association.

NCPA endorsed S.B. 493 throughout its advancement through the legislative process including in an August 20, 2013 letter of support. The NCPA letter cited the growing primary care shortage that is expected to worsen as more Americans gain insurance through the Affordable Care Act. In addition, NCPA noted that there are over 2,135 community pharmacies in California which employ a projected 22,650 residents and are vital to California’s “Main Street Economy.”

Hopefully adoption of this legislation by the most populous U.S. state will prompt more states to enact similar legislation in the coming months. NCPA will continue to support similar efforts by pharmacy organizations in other states. At the 2012 House of Delegates meeting, NCPA members reaffirmed support for granting pharmacists provider status and NCPA staff has worked with other pharmacy organizations to that end throughout 2013.

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