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85th Texas Legislature
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The 85th Texas Legislative session is well underway in its 140-day jam-packed policy and politic-driven efforts. For many, this is what the Texas Pharmacy Association (TPA) is all about: serving as a unified voice representing the profession of pharmacy in the Texas Capitol. While every legislative session is critical, this session has a heightened sense of urgency, as the profession continues to adapt to meet the growing challenges presented by the Pharmacy Benefit Managers and health plans; the need to better utilize an extensive education and training; and the drive to better meet the profession's needs and the needs of patients.

Since late 2016, TPA has shared legislative plans as well as the issues which likely would be pursued during the current session. The TPA Board of Directors finalized the 2017 legislative agenda in December to include:*

  • Supporting pharmacists as providers – As in the 84th Session, TPA is seeking statutory change to declare that pharmacists are healthcare providers in Texas.  While this issue is different than the federal Provider Status effort, it remains important that the Texas legislature clearly declare that pharmacists are health care providers authorized to provide health care services to the maximum of their license. 
  • Establishing pharmacists’ right to be paid for the health care services provided – All too often pharmacists are not paid or not paid adequately for the health care services provided, even when payors are paying other health care providers for the exact same service. This inequity can no longer continue, and TPA is seeking a statutory requirement that payors must pay pharmacists for services provided within the scope of their license when the payor already is paying other providers for the same services. 
  • Addressing patient safety and the workplace – Fatigue is a serious concern impacting pharmacists’ ability to safely carry out their duties. Numerous studies and surveys have concluded that pharmacist fatigue increases the risk of dispensing errors. To address concerns with fatigue, TPA is seeking a statutory requirement that prohibits a pharmacist from working more than a twelve-hour shift in the practice of pharmacy, followed by no less than eight hours between scheduled duty periods.  Additionally, the legislation requires pharmacists to take a minimum of two fifteen minute breaks within the twelve-hour shift.
  • Enhancing patient access to certain services from their pharmacist – As the demand on healthcare continues to grow so must the points of care. With eight to ten years of education, pharmacist represent a greatly underutilized healthcare professional within the healthcare team. Additionally, countless studies and findings have shown that pharmacists can and do provide a significant return on investment and the health status of their patients when proactively engaged in the patient’s health care. In order to meet the growing demand by patients for more access to care, TPA is seeking authority for a pharmacist to furnish a limited number of medications, based on the use of C.L.I.A. Waived tests and those medications that do not require a diagnosis through a physician protocol. 
  • Regulating Pharmacy Benefit Managers in the state of Texas – This effort is being directed by the Alliance of Independent Pharmacists of Texas (AIP).  TPA is fully supporting this crucial effort to finally place Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) under state regulation. It is absurd that an entity that plays such a significant role in the health care treatment of patients across the state has continued to be unregulated and unchecked.

Note: The above list does not include all pharmacy legislation being filed by other pharmacy organizations. Rest assured, TPA is committed to working with all other pharmacy organizations as their legislative agenda is pursued.

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