During the 2016 Legislative Session, House Bill 941 was passed and became law on April 14, 2016, as Chapter 2016-230, Laws of Florida. The bill amends a wide variety of programs and licensing services offered by the Florida Department of Health. The bill specifically affects the pharmacy profession in the following ways:
Prevention of Medical Errors
Effective July 1, 2016, applicants for licensure will no longer be required to complete a 2-hour course on the prevention of medical errors as a condition of licensure. Please note that this requirement is only removed for licensure applicants. It is still a requirement for renewal of a license.
Expedited Partner Therapy
Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT), as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is the “clinical practice of treating the sex partners of patients diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea by providing prescriptions or medications to the patient to take to his/her partner without the health care provider first examining the partner.” This bill creates section 384.27 (7), Florida Statutes, to allow medical and osteopathic physicians and advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNP) to use EPT as a method to treat patients and their sexual partners with a diagnosed STD when the sexual partner is not likely or unable to seek treatment. A pharmacist may dispense the medication to the patient for their sexual partner for treatment of the diagnosed STD. The pharmacist or health care practitioner must check for allergic reactions before dispensing the medication.
The Florida Department of Health, Division of Medical Quality Assurance (MQA) offers expedited licensure processing through the Veterans Application for Licensure Online Response (VALOR) System. In order to qualify, the applicant must apply for the license six months before or six months after their honorable discharge from the United States Armed Forces. Additionally, the applicant must either hold an active, unencumbered license in another state in the profession for which they are applying or must meet the minimum requirements for licensure in the profession for which they are applying. Additionally, the application fee, licensure fee and unlicensed activity fee are waived for veterans who qualify for the VALOR program.
This bill also extends the eligibility of the VALOR program to spouses of active duty service members practicing in a health care profession regulated by MQA, with the exception of dentists. Spouses of active duty service members who apply for a license through the VALOR program must either hold an active, unencumbered license in another state in the profession for which they are applying or must meet the minimum requirements for licensure in the profession for which they are applying.
This bill also creates a temporary certificate for an active duty service member practicing in a health care profession to receive a temporary certificate to practice in a civilian setting via a military platform.
Emergency Insulin Refill
The bill amends section 465.0275, Florida Statutes, and allows pharmacists to provide one emergency vial of insulin to treat diabetes mellitus in the event the pharmacist cannot readily obtain a refill authorization.
To read the entire bill, visit www.FLHealthSource.gov/2016-Bills. For more information, contact the Florida Board of Pharmacy at (850) 245-4292.