Pharmacy Issues and Advocacy have Garnered Attention in Wisconsin
This update will focus on pharmacy issues due to a flurry of activity in this space.
New Laws: Recently Governor Tony Evers signed three bills focusing on the practice of pharmacy.
- Medicaid reimbursement: Senate Bill 255 [2021 Wisconsin Act 98] ensures Medicaid will reimburse orders given by pharmacists while working within their scope of practice. This law does not change which services Medicaid will reimburse. It only adds pharmacists to the list of health care professionals who can order the services for a patient — increasing access in crucially underserved areas, enabling top of licensure practice from health care practitioners, and encouraging health care practice that is team-based, efficient and cost-effective. Under this law, examples of reimbursable services provided by pharmacists may include vaccinations, medication administration, management of patients with chronic diseases (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, use of blood thinners], tobacco cessation product prescribing and monitoring, opioid de-escalation, and comprehensive medication management.
- Pharmacy technician registration: Senate Bill 300 [2021 Wisconsin Act 100] requires pharmacy technicians to be registered by the Pharmacy Examining Board. Pharmacy technicians play an important role on the pharmacy team by assisting pharmacists every day. This registration requirement ensures the public is protected by allowing the Pharmacy Examining Board to monitor those with access to potentially harmful medications. This law does not change the scope of practice or the entry requirements to becoming a pharmacy technician.
- Remote dispensing: Senate Bill 308 [2021 Wisconsin Act 101] aligns Wisconsin statutes to administrative practice authorized by the Pharmacy Examining Board to enable remote dispensing to occur at locations that are not licensed as pharmacies. A remote dispensing site is a pharmacy that operates via remote supervision instead of having a pharmacist physically present. Remote dispensing sites are important in underserved and rural communities where a pharmacist may be unable to be physically present. Remote dispensing sites have the same level of supervision as traditional pharmacies. Specialty trained technicians under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist are in charge of dispensing medications at these remote sites. This law does not apply to free and charitable clinics or narcotic/opiate addiction treatment centers.
Ongoing Advocacy: AB 718, also known as “Koreen’s law,” prohibits the practice of “white bagging” and was introduced on November 17th. This legislation has been championed by Senator Darling and Representative Kurtz and has been an advocacy focus of the Patients First Wisconsin coalition, which includes the Wisconsin Hospital Association and the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin. As background, white bagging is a practice by insurance companies requiring that certain life-changing medications be shipped from a source that they dictate, rather than using the patient’s local hospital pharmacy. Patients with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, hemophilia or cancer, could be impacted by these policies. Common issues from white bagging include the untimely receipt of medications and the incorrect dosage of medications. Additionally, this practice exacerbates supply chain security challenges for these medications, as outlined in a American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that UnityPoint Health signed onto in March 2021. This legislation has been referred to committee.
For more information on State of Wisconsin advocacy, legislative, policy and regulatory issues of impact to UnityPoint Health, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org