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January Legislative Update: Tech Bill, Fraud Training, Pharmacist Elected, FSA/HRA Debit Cards, DME Deadline

Kelly Vyzral, Director of Government Affairs


Pharmacy Technician Bill Passes

SB 203, the Pharmacy Technician legislation, was favorably voted out of the Ohio House on December 16, 2008, and received concurrence in the Senate.  The bill was sent to the Governor's desk to await signature.  SB 203 will become effective in 90 days or at the end of March 2009.  The Board of Pharmacy will take up the task of writing rules in January and February to implement this law.  For more information about the Pharmacy Technician legislation, see Tech Bill Passes article. 

Pharmacies Advised to Delay Fraud Training

The Medicare Modernization Act states that all Part D plan sponsors are required to have a comprehensive fraud and abuse plan to detect, correct, and prevent fraud, waste and abuse as part of their compliance plan. We have been working with NCPA, NACDS and CMS to clarify this requirement. The training requirement becomes effective January 1, 2009. This does not mean that training must be completed by January 1, 2009; rather, pharmacies are advised to wait until January 1, 2009, since any training program taken prior to that date will not carry over to 2009. NCPA has developed a list of frequently asked questions to help explain new requirements.  For more information, go to:


Pharmacist is Elected to Ohio House of Representatives

Dave Burke, R.Ph., owner of Dave's Pharmacy in Marysville, Ohio was elected to represent the 83rd House District in the November election.  Dave grew up in Marion where he attended Marion Catholic High School.  He graduated from Ohio Northern University College of Pharmacy in 1990, and earned an MBA at Capital University in 1994.  He and his wife Donna, who is also a pharmacist, have two children, Alexandra (10) and Adam (5).


Dave and Donna opened Dave's Pharmacy in 1997 and now employ 12 people and fill thousands of prescriptions each week.  He entered politics six years ago as Vice President of the Marysville City Council.  Since then he has worked to develop innovative solutions to the challenges of a growing community.  While on City Council, he realized that many of the challenges facing a community today cannot be solved at the local level and are a direct result of decisions, or a lack of decisions, made in the Ohio Statehouse.  It was then that he decided to make a run for the Ohio House of Representatives.  OPA would like to congratulate Dave on his election to office.  We look forward to working with Representative Burke.


Update on IRS Rule Regarding FSA/HRA Debit Cards

Internal Revenue Service has extended the deadline on when Flexible Spending Account and Health Reimbursement Arrangement debit cards may not be used at pharmacies, unless the store has an Inventory Information Approval System (IIAS) or at least 90 percent of the store's gross receipts for the prior tax year qualify as medical care expenses.


The original deadline of January 1, 2009 has been extended to July 1, 2009. But despite this reprieve, employers, the credit card companies behind the debit cards, third party administrators, and others are continuing to steer/push beneficiaries to pharmacies that use IIAS point-of-sale technology to instantly identify prescription and non-prescription items that qualify as medical care expenses and give the customer a record of them.

Remember, there is no IRS requirement that a pharmacy have an IIAS/POS. And, there are alternatives to IIAS/POS.


More information about the IRS rule can be found at:


Urge Your Legislators to Recognize the Value of Pharmacist Services

As we enter a new Congress, several legislators are currently drafting healthcare reform proposals. Now is the time for them to hear from you about the valuable role that pharmacists can play in reforming our healthcare system.  In fact, while one recent healthcare reform proposal highlighted the need for addressing chronic disease, increasing collaboration, using non-physician providers, and facilitating patient self-empowerment, there was no specific mention of the role of the pharmacist in this 100+ page document. We are also aware that other members of Congress are drafting healthcare reform bills based on specific state-based collaborative models that do not include pharmacists.


Please take a few moments to contact your legislators to educate them about the valuable role that pharmacists can play in improving the health of patients, and to urge their inclusion of pharmacist services in their proposals.


APhA has set up a Legislative Action Center to help you.

1. Click on the following link to enter the Legislative Action Center

2. Enter your zip-code and click "Go"

3. Edit the pre-written letter as you see fit

4. Enter your name and address and select "send message"


Pharmacists Shine in Ethics Rating

Once again pharmacists earn high public praise for their honesty and ethics in Gallup's annual survey of professional integrity. Seventy percent of Americans call pharmacists' professional honesty and ethical standards either "high" or "very high." Pharmacists rank second only to nurses at 84 percent among 21 professions, based on a USA Today/Gallup poll of 1,010 adults. High school teachers are in third place (65 percent). At the bottom of the list, in the 5 to 7 percent range, are car salesmen and telemarketers.


DME Accreditation Deadline is Closer Than You Think

Community pharmacies must obtain accreditation by September 30, 2009 to continue to bill Medicare for diabetes testing materials and other durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies (DMEPOS). But accreditation organizations have told the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that to meet that deadline, applications must be submitted to the organizations by January 31, 2009. When making your decision concerning whether or not to become accredited, please keep in mind that private insurers, HMOs and Medicaid may, in the future, follow suit and require accreditation.

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