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85th Texas Legislature
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STATUS OF THE 85th TEXAS LEGISLATIVE SESSION

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.


Pharmacy Legislation During the 85th Session of the Texas Legislature

The following are some of pharmacy's key pro-active filed legislation:

 

Pharmacists as Providers
HB 2608 by Jose Lozano (R-Kingsville), District 43
Developed by the Texas Pharmacy Association.  There will be some opposition.
The legislation incorporates a “declaratory” statement into law that pharmacists are deemed to be healthcare providers in the state of Texas and able to provide healthcare services.


Establishing Pharmacists’ Right to be Paid for the Services They Provide
TPA incorporated this issue in our Expanding Patient Access legislation below.


Addressing Patient Safety and The Workplac
e
Strongly opposed legislation will not be filed
The legislation would have prohibited a pharmacist from working more than a twelve-hour shift in the practice of pharmacy, and required no less than eight hours between scheduled duty periods as well as a minimum of two fifteen minute breaks within the twelve-hour shift.


Expanding Patient Access to Certain Healthcare Services from Pharmacists
HB 2444 by Rep. Kevin Roberts (R-Houston), District 126
Developed by the Texas Pharmacy Association.  
Will have very strong opposition.
The legislation establishes the authority for a pharmacist to furnish a limited number of medications, based on the use and results of certain C.L.I.A. Waived tests for treatment of conditions that do not require a diagnosis through a physician protocol.  The legislation also establishes a statutory requirement that payors must pay pharmacists when providing a service within their scope of practice that the payor already is paying other providers.


Regulating Pharmacy Benefit Managers in the State of Texas

HB 1881 by Rep. 
Sergio Munoz (D-Palmview), District 36
Developed by the Alliance of Independent Pharmacists of Texas (AIP) and supported by TPA.  Strong opposition expected.

The legislation finally places Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) under state regulation.


Increased 
Punishment for Burglary and Theft of Controlled Substances
HB1178
 by Rep. John Kuempel (R-Seguin), District 44 and SB 536 by Sen. Juan Hinojosa (D-McAllen), District 20
Developed by the Texas Pharmacy Business Council (TPBC) and supported by TPA.  Minimal opposition expected.

The legislation increases the punishment for burglary and theft of controlled substances.


Health Benefit Coverage for Prescription Drug Synchronization

HB 1296
 by Rep. John Frullo (R-Lubbock), District 84 and SB 697 by Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway), District 24
Developed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and supported by TPA. Some opposition expected.
The legislation requires health benefit coverage and payment for prescription drug synchronization.

 


The following are all bills filed which impact Texas pharmacies or pharmacy professionals:

HOUSE LEGISLATION

  • HB 75 by Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Canton), District 2
    Relating to the education and examination requirements for pharmacy technicians.
  • HB 120 by Rep. Sarah Davis (R-West University Place), District 134
    Relating to non-medical exemptions from immunization requirements.
  • HB 126 by Rep. Sarah Davis (R-West University Place), District 134
    Relating to an educational module certificate requirement for certain immunization exemptions.
  • HB 241 by Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), District 48
    Relating to a health care practitioner counseling requirement for persons claiming an immunization exemption on the basis of conscience, including a religious belief.
  • HB 243 by Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), District 48
    Relating to the immunization data included in and excluded from the immunization registry.
  • HB 335  by Rep. Nicole Collier(D-Fort Worth), District 95
    Relating to administrative and judicial review of certain Medicaid reimbursement disputes.
  • HB 1133 by Rep. J.D. Sheffield (R-Gatesville), District 59
    Relating to the reimbursement of prescription drugs under Medicaid and the child health plan program.
  • HB 1178 by Rep. John Kuempel (R-Seguin), District 44
    Relating to the punishment for burglary and theft of controlled substances.
  • HB 1227 by Rep. John Smithee (R-Amarillo), District 86
    Relating to the transparency of certain information related to prescription drug coverage provided by certain health benefit plans.
  • HB 1296 by Rep. John Frullo (R-Lubbock). District: 84
    Relating to health benefit coverage for prescription drug synchronization.
  • HB 1482 by Rep. Matt Shaheen (R-Plano), District 66
    Relating to the dispensing of certain drugs by physicians.
  • HB 1846 by Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston), District 147
    Relating to the prescribing and ordering of Schedule II controlled substances by certain advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants.
  • HB 1881 by Rep. Sergio Munoz (D-Palmview), District 36
    Relating to pharmacy benefit networks and pharmacy benefit managers.
  • HB 1917 by Rep. Richard Raymond (D-Laredo), District 42
    Relating to contract requirements for prescription drug benefits provided by Medicaid managed care organizations.
  • HB 1939 by Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston), District 147
    Relating to the regulation of the sale of dextromethorphan to minors.
  • HB 2389 by Cindy Burkett (R-Sunnyvale), District 113

    Relating to the supervision of pharmacist-interns, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy technician trainees by a pharmacist and the adoption of rules by the Texas State Board of Pharmacy.

  • HB 2420 by Rep. Tom Oliverson (R-Cypress), District 130

    Relating to the dispensing of aesthetic pharmaceuticals by physicians.

  •  HB 2444 by Rep. Kevin Roberts (R-Houston), District 126
    Relating to the authority of pharmacists to furnish certain medications and receive compensation for certain services and procedures.

  • HB 2449 by Rep. Sergio Munoz (D-Palmview), District 36
    Relating to the assignment of health insurance benefits to a physician or health care provider.
  • HB 2561 by Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), District 14
    Relating to the continuation and functions of the Texas State Board of Pharmacy.
  • HB 2608 by Rep. Jose Lozano (R-Kingsville), District 43
    Relating to a legislative finding that pharmacists are health care providers.
  • HB 2830 by Rep. Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville), District 37
    Relating to the closed formulary for workers' compensation pharmaceutical benefits.
  • HB 2859 by Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston), District 147
    Relating to prescriber and dispenser reporting and access to patient prescription information under the Texas Controlled Substances Act.
  • HB 2878 by Rep. Scott Sanford (R-McKinney), District 70
    Relating to the right of conscientious refusal of a health care service.
  • HB 2933 by Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-League City), District 24
    Relating to the licensing and regulation of military optometrists and therapeutic optometrists who provide voluntary charity care.
  • HB 3040 by Rep. Cindy Burkett (R-Garland), District 113
    Relating to the continuation and functions of the Texas Medical Board.
  • HB 3189 by Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-League City), District 24
    Relating to the reporting of and access to information related to court-ordered prescription drug substance abuse treatment.
  • HB 3208 by Rep. Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock), District 52
    Relating to powers and duties of certain prescribers and dispensers of controlled substances and the regulatory agencies that issue a license, certification, or registration to the prescriber or dispenser.
  • HB 3273 by Rep. Kevin Roberts (R-Houston), District 126
    Relating to the licensing and regulation of pharmacies, pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians.
  • HB 3288 by Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-North Richland Hills), District 91
    Relating to the reimbursement of prescription drugs under Medicaid and the child health plan program.
  • HB 3480 by Rep. Matt Shaheen (R-Plano), District 66
    Relating to the dispensing of certain drugs by therapeutic optometrists.

 

SENATE LEGISLATION

  • SB 54 by Senator Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), District 21
    Relating to the immunization data included in and excluded from the immunization registry.
  • SB 124 by Senator Don Huffines (R-Dallas), District 16
    Relating to the Internet broadcast of open meetings of the Texas State Board of Pharmacy.
  • SB 269 by Senator Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio), District 26
    Relating to authorizing the possession, use, cultivation, distribution, transportation, and delivery of medical cannabis for medical use by qualifying patients with certain debilitating medical conditions and the licensing.  Note – Only dispensing organizations licensed by the department of public Safety to cultivate, process, and dispense medical cannabis would be allowed to dispense the medical marijuana.
  • SB 270 by Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), District 4
    Relating to health benefit plan coverage for abuse-deterrent opioid analgesic drugs.
  • SB 306 by Sen. Van Taylor (R-Friendswood), District 8
    Relating to the continuation and functions of the Texas State Board of Pharmacy; authorizing a reduction in fees.

  • SB 315 by Sen. Chuy Hinojosa (D-McAllen), District 20
  • SB 316 by Sen. Chuy Hinojosa (D-McAllen), District 20

    Relating to powers and duties of certain prescribers and dispensers of controlled substances and the regulatory agencies that issue a license, certification, or registration to the prescriber or dispenser.
  • SB 382 by Senator Konni Burton (R-Colleyville) District 10
    Relating to donation of unused prescription drugs; authorizing a fee.
  • SB 433 by Senator José R. Rodriguez (D-El Paso), District 29
    Relating to the prescribing and ordering of Schedule II controlled substances by certain advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants.

  • SB 536 by Sen. Juan Hinojosa (D-McAllen) District: 20 
    Relating to the punishment for burglary and theft of controlled substances.

  • SB 894 by Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway), District 24
    Relating to the Health and Human Services Commission's strategy for managing audit resources, including procedures for auditing and collecting payments from Medicaid managed care organizations.

  • SB 895 by Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo), District 31
    Relating to the transparency of certain information related to prescription drug coverage provided by certain health benefit plans.

  • SB 1101 by Sen. Van Taylor (R-Friendswood), District 8

    Relating to the prescription of epinephrine auto-injectors to and administration of epinephrine auto-injectors in day-care centers.

  • SB 1107 by Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown), District 5
    Relating to telemedicine and telehealth services.

  • SB 1240 by Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso), District 29
    Relating to the prescriptive authority of certain psychologists.

  • SB 1284 by Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano), District 8
    Relating to prescriber and dispenser reporting and access to patient prescription information under the Texas Controlled Substances Act.

  • SB 1367 by Sen. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio), District 26
    Relating to policies and training regarding the use of epinephrine auto-injectors by public institutions of higher education.

  • SB 1412 by Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) District 5
    Relating to the powers and duties of certain prescribers and dispensers of controlled substances and to the regulatory agencies that issue a license, certification, or registration to the prescribers or dispensers.

  • SB 1564 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), District18
    Relating to pharmacy benefit networks and pharmacy benefit managers.

  • SB 1567 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), District 18
    Relating to the reimbursement of prescription drugs under Medicaid and the child health plan program.

  • SB 1606 by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Beaumont), District 4
    Relating to the dispensing of aesthetic pharmaceuticals by physicians; authorizing fees.

  • SB 1633 by Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), District 28

     Relating to the provision of pharmacy services through a telepharmacy system; establishing a remote dispensing site license.

 

  • SJR 17 by Senator Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) District 29
    Proposing a constitutional amendment to authorize and regulate the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis.
  • SJR 18 by Senator Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) District 29
    Proposing a constitutional amendment to authorize and regulate the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis for medical use.

 

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