On March 11, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 389 into law. This law allows qualified pharmacists the ability to treat chronic illnesses and to test, diagnose, and treat certain minor, non-chronic illnesses.
Treatment of Chronic Illnesses
This new law creates Florida Statute § 465.1865 entitled “Collaborative Pharmacy Practice for Chronic Health Conditions.” This section sets forth the requirements for a pharmacist to treat certain chronic health conditions. Importantly, these chronic health conditions are limited to:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases;
- Type 2 Diabetes;
- Human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome;
- Obesity; and
- Other chronic conditions that the Board of Pharmacy may allow by future rule making.
Fla. Stat. § 465.1865(1).
To be able to treat these chronic conditions, a pharmacist must enter into a “Collaborative Pharmacy Practice Agreement” with the patient’s licensed physician. This agreement must include:
- The name of the patient(s) for whom a pharmacist may provide services;
- The chronic health condition(s) to be managed;
- The specific drugs to be managed;
- The circumstances under which the pharmacist may order and evaluate laboratory or clinical tests;
- The conditions upon which the pharmacist must notify the physician;
- The beginning and end dates of the treatment; and
- A statement that the agreement can be terminated at any time by either the pharmacist or the physician.
Fla. Stat. § 465.1865(3)(a).
Additionally, before a pharmacist can treat these chronic conditions, the pharmacists must be certified by the Board of Pharmacy. To obtain this certification, the pharmacists must:
- Have an active pharmacy license;
- Have a Doctor of Pharmacy or have completed five years as a licensed pharmacist;
- Complete a 20-hour course on Collaborative Treatment of Chronic Health Conditions that is approved by the Board of Pharmacy;
- Maintain at least $250,000 of professional liability insurance; and
- Have an established system for keeping patient records.
Fla. Stat. § 465.1865(2).
As this law was recently passed, rulemaking has not yet begun. However, as the Board of Pharmacy promulgates rules on collaborative treatment of chronic illnesses, we will provide update with any new developments.
Treatment of Non-Chronic Health Conditions
Additionally, the new law created Florida Statute § 465.1895, which allows for the testing and treatment of minor, non-chronic health conditions by a pharmacist. Minor, non-chronic health conditions include:
- Certain skin conditions; and
- Minor, uncomplicated infections.
Fla. Stat. § 465.1895(1)(a).
Much like the treatment of chronic conditions, a pharmacist who wishes to treat non-chronic, minor illnesses must do so under the supervision of a physician and pursuant to written protocol between the pharmacist and the physician. This protocol must contain:
- The categories of patients the pharmacist s authorized to treat;
- The physician’s instruction for obtaining relevant patient medical history;
- The physician’s instructions for the treatment of the condition based on the patients age, symptoms, and test results; and
- A process and schedule for the physician to review the pharmacist’s actions and for the pharmacist to notify the physician of his or her actions.
Fla. Stat. § 465.1895(5).
As rule making progresses, new requirements may be added to this list.
Finally, any pharmacist who wishes to treat minor, non-chronic health conditions must be certified by the Board of Pharmacy to do so. To obtain this certification, the pharmacist must, among other things:
- Hold an active license to practice pharmacy in Florida;
- Take a 20-hour board approved education course on assessing and treating minor, non-chronic health conditions;
- Maintain at least $250,000 of liability coverage;
- Upon request, furnish patient health care records to a health care practitioner designated by the patient; and
- Maintain patient records for five years.
Fla. Stat. § 465.1895(2).
This new law takes effect on July 1, 2020. Right now, the Board of Pharmacy is in the beginning stages of developing rules to implement this new law. As these rules progress, we will provide any important updates.
If you are a pharmacist who would like to take advantage of this new law and have questions about how to obtain licensing, you should contact an attorney at Smith & Associates to discuss your options.