Current Legislative Priorities
Over the past year, OPA has spent countless hours at the Ohio Legislature advocating for the pharmacy profession. Following are some of the legislative successes that impact your profession:
HB 44, Emergency Dispensing - Legislation passed and signed into law that allows pharmacists and pharmacy interns to dispense limited quantities of drugs without a prescription during times of a declared public emergency.
HB 59, Ohio Budget – Legislation passed and signed into law that originally included language that would have removed the requirement that a pharmacist be involved in the operation and supervision of remote dispensing machines. OPA worked to remove this language so that pharmacists continue to supervise the remote dispensing process.
SB 230, Chemotherapy “Brown-Bagging” - Legislation passed and signed into law that will disallow the practice of mailing non-self-injectable chemotherapy drugs to patients’ homes for them to bring into the physician’s office to be administered.
HB 341, Mandatory OARRS Checking – Legislation passed and signed into law that puts the onus on prescribers, rather than pharmacists, to review OARRS before writing schedule II drugs, or any drug prescription containing an opioid.
SB 99, Chemotherapy Coverage Parity – Legislation passed and signed into law that eliminates major pricing discrepancies between oral and intravenous chemotherapy drugs. This prohibits insurers from imposing a coverage limit, co-payment, co-insurance, deductible, or other out-of-pocket expense that is greater than that which applies to coverage for intravenously administered or injected cancer medications.
OPA continues to advocate for new initiatives to enhance the pharmacy profession. Following are some of the PENDING legislation and current initiatives that are important to your profession.
HB 394, Immunization Expansion – Pending legislation that would allow pharmacists and pharmacy interns to administer all CDC-recommended vaccines to patients who are 7 years of age and older.
MAC Transparency – OPA is working with key legislators on finalizing a draft piece of legislation that would require transparency in pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) maximum allowable cost (MAC) pricing. This bill would require MAC price updates at least every seven days, allows for a detailed price appeals process, and would require the Department of Insurance to enforce PBM regulations.
SB 240, Consult Agreement Expansion – Pending legislation that would allow multiple physicians to have agreements with multiple pharmacists to manage the chronic disease states for multiple patients. The bill would allow pharmacists to order blood work for a patient and also grant them prescriptive authority under a consult agreement.
HB 326, Diabetic Shoes – Pending legislation that would allow pharmacists and pharmacy interns to fit diabetic shoes. OPA feels this bill will increase access and allow pharmacists to better serve their diabetic patients.
SB 258, Pharmacy Audits – Pending legislation that will regulate the relationship between pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). This bill would require a 10-day notice prior to an audit, prohibit the practice of extrapolation, prohibit takebacks for non-substantive clerical errors, create a formal appeals process, and prohibit audits on prescriptions that are more than two years old.
HB 381/SB 271, Mandatory ID Checking – Pending legislation that would require that a pharmacy check and record photo identification of any patient filling a prescription for a controlled substance. OPA is working to lessen the burden on pharmacists.
OPA Advocacy Efforts & Initiatives
These items would enhance/protect the pharmacy profession.
Medication Synchronization – Legislation aimed at requiring insurers to allow pharmacies to synchronize a patient’s prescriptions without penalty, so that a patient can receive all of their medications at the same time.
“Tech-Check-Tech” – OPA has been approached by several groups, asking for our support for removing the pharmacist from the dispensing process, and thus allow technicians to check other technicians. OPA has always opposed this concept, and vows to protect patients from this push to make such a fundamental change to the pharmacy practice.
Provider Status – While Ohio pharmacists are currently listed as providers in the Insurance Code, this initiative would give Ohio pharmacists provider status in all facets of Ohio law.
Medicaid Dispensing Fee – Currently, Ohio pharmacies bear the burden of one of the lowest Medicaid dispensing fees in the country. OPA has been working with the Department of Medicaid to get the fee addressed and increased.
Any Willing Pharmacy Provider – Currently, many pharmacies are excluded from restrictive networks, which can force patients away from the pharmacy of their choice. This initiative would allow any pharmacy to accept the same terms as a “preferred pharmacy,” so they could participate in the network.
Pharmacy Choice – This legislation would ensure that patients have the ability to select their pharmacy.