Pharmacists play an important role in the delivery of health care services, and can commonly provide immunizations and medication therapy management services. Their knowledge and expertise are vital in educating patients and helping them to prevent and manage chronic diseases, and in providing basic medical testing services. In addition, pharmacists are the most accessible health care professionals in many underserved areas.
Pharmacist Provider Status
The California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) spearheaded SB 493 (Hernandez) which was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on October 1, 2013. This bill not only recognizes pharmacists as health care providers, but also develops a new classification known as the advanced practice pharmacist (APh).
SB 493 declares pharmacists as healthcare providers who have the authority to provide health care services, authorizing all licensed pharmacists to:
- Administer drugs and biologics when ordered by a prescriber.
- Provide consultation, training, and education about drug therapy, disease management and disease prevention.
- Participate in multidisciplinary review of patient progress, including appropriate access to medical records.
- Furnish self-administered hormonal contraceptives (the pill, the patch, and the ring) pursuant to a statewide protocol. This authority is similar to the existing emergency contraception protocol Furnish travel medications recommended by the CDC not requiring a diagnosis.
- Furnish prescription nicotine replacement products for smoking cessation pursuant to a statewide protocol if certain training, certification, recordkeeping, and notification requirements are met.
- Independently initiate and administer immunizations to patients three years of age and older if certain training, certification, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements are met. A physician protocol is still required to administer immunizations on children younger than three years of age.
- Order and interpret tests for the purpose of monitoring and managing the efficacy and toxicity of drug therapies, in coordination with the patient’s primary care provider or diagnosing prescriber.
SB 493 established an Advanced Practice Pharmacist (APh) recognition, and authorizes APhs to:
- Perform patient assessments.
- Order and interpret drug therapy-related tests in coordination with the patient’s primary care provider or diagnosing prescriber.
- Refer patients to other healthcare providers.
- Initiate, adjust, and discontinue drug therapy pursuant to an order by a patient’s treating prescriber and in accordance with established protocols.
- Participate in the evaluation and management of diseases and health conditions in collaboration with other healthcare providers.