Ohio State Professor Lends Testimony to HB 188

Emily Keeler

Stuart Beatty, PharmD, BSPS, associate professor of Clinical Pharmacy at The Ohio State University, testified last week in the Ohio House of Representative’s Health & Aging Committee for House Bill 188.
The bill, sponsored by representatives Nathan Manning and Stephen Huffman, would better enable pharmacists to enter into agreements with groups of doctors to manage patient therapy for their patients. Currently, pharmacists can only enter into a singular consult agreement with one doctor and one patient.
“Under the current version of the law, a separate consult agreement must be entered into for each individual whose drug therapy is to be managed by a pharmacist,” Beatty testified. “It further states that a consult agreement applies only to the particular diagnosis for which a physician prescribed an individual's drug therapy. With 38 attending physicians and more than 90 medical residents, having a separate consult agreement for each patient is not feasible.”
With this bill, pharmacists would have the ability to add, remove, or alter a patient’s drug therapy and order blood or urine tests if approved by the physician. This makes access to care easier for individuals who live in rural or under-served areas and may be quite a distance from their physician.
“Our physicians refer patients to our services because they trust and depend on our clinical judgement and because allowing us to manage their patients with medication-related needs allows them more time to see patients with more complex medical needs,” continued Beatty. “Their referral is a partnership in which they trust us to make clinical decisions in the best interest of the patient. Based on years of experience working together as a healthcare team, our recommended plans are rarely met with disagreement from the physicians, making the process of gaining approval more of a logistical burden than a necessity. The proposed changes in HB 188 will improve the efficiency of this process and provide further opportunities for physician-pharmacist partnerships, allowing more patients to benefit from the healthcare services provided by the pharmacist.”
In addition to expanding the role pharmacists play in patient care, a second part of the bill would expand a pharmacist’s ability to dispense emergency supplies of medications in the event a patient is out refills, and the doctor can’t be reached for a new prescription. The bill would change the current law of allowing pharmacists to dispense a 72-hour supply, to allow up to a 30-day supply or the smallest unit of measurement available for medications for life-threatening disease states. Many medications—such as insulin for diabetes—cannot be dispersed in limited amounts due to their packaging units. This bill eliminates the hurdles and risks associated with patients going without their medications in the event a new prescription cannot be obtained.
The original bill draft was crafted by Senator Dave Burke (who is also a pharmacist from Marysville) in cooperation with the Ohio Pharmacists Association, Ohio Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and the Ohio State Medical Association. Sen. Burke and Sen. Gayle Manning introduced that bill, SB 141, earlier this year. HB 188 was modeled after SB 141, and both have had multiple hearings in their respective chamber’s committees. The SB 141 was successfully voted out of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee on June 17, and we are awaiting a vote on HB 188.