Holistic Health Blog
Dr. Cathy Rosenbaum

2020 CARES Act – Do We Need A Role For Pharmacists?

Excerpts from Pharmacy Today May, 2020 Issue, article entitled: “Pandemic”.  Do you agree with the role of the pharmacists in this Act?  Why or why not?

“The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) is aimed at mitigating the economic effects of the [coronavirus] pandemic. On March 25, 2020 the U.S. Senate passed [this] legislative package that did not include pharmacist provider status language, despite intense lobbying by a coalition of pharmacy stakeholders.

The CARES Act did include provisions that APhA has supported. One provision strengthens drug shortage reporting requirements from manufacturers and response during public health emergencies – a concept that aligns with recently adopted policy by the APhA House of Delegates. It will also restore consumers’ ability to use tax-preferred account funds to pay for OTC medicines without requiring a prescription.

[Another provision] allows pharmacists to administer the coronavirus vaccine or vaccines when available, either under current Medicare rules categorized as ‘suppliers,’ when Part B compensates pharmacists as mass immunizers, or both.  Another gives the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services the authority to consider waiving all Medicare telehealth restrictions to treat COVID-19 in the future, such as restrictions on pharmacists offering  these services or even on telepharmacy.

The CARES Act also provides for possible inclusion of pharmacists in the U.S. Public Health Service’s Ready Reserve Corps to respond to a public health or national emergency and offers federal liability protection to health professionals, including pharmacists, who volunteer to provide COVID-19 health care services.”

Practicing Pharmacy – Immunization Administration Requirements Updated

Practicing Pharmacy Vaccine Administration – Mandatory Requirements UPDATED 3/19/2020

 

In an effort to keep the public informed, please note the following updates regarding immunization administration by pharmacists and pharmacy interns.  Have you ever asked a pharmacist or pharmacy intern to administer a vaccine ordered for you?  Why or why not?  If not, does this new information change your opinion?  We remain hopeful that a vaccine protecting against COVID-19 will soon be FDA-approved and marketed in the USA.  We do not have a vaccine to prevent this virus now, but there are many other routine immunizations that are needed for general health at all ages, as well as immunizations for international travel, once that becomes safe again.  Please talk with your pharmacist about your immunization needs today!_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

On March 18, 2020, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy issued mandatory requirements for pharmacies to implement safeguards to ensure pharmacy professionals practice in a safe and effective manner. These requirements can be accessed by visiting: www.pharmacy.ohio.gov/COVIDsafe

On March 19, 2020, the Board issued an update to these requirements clarifying provisions on immunization administration as follows:

·    Pharmacists and pharmacy interns shall no longer be permitted to administer immunizations or other injections without standard protective measures, which includes gloves and proper hand hygiene (i.e. routinely washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds). Standard protective measures do not include the use of masks or gowns.

·    Pharmacists and pharmacy interns shall not administer any immunizations or other injections to patients displaying or reporting symptoms of respiratory illness, including any of the following:

·    Fever (NOTE: This does not require mandatory temperature checks);

·    Cough; or

·    Shortness of breath.

These updated requirements can be accessed by visiting: www.pharmacy.ohio.gov/COVIDsafe.