Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission and Pharmacy Issues

Over the past year, WSHA has worked to address an array of pharmacy issues negatively impacting hospitals and clinics. We have achieved some key legislative and regulatory success and remain diligent as new issues arise. The following highlights a number of the pharmacy issues we are tracking or actively working to address:

August 30, 2015   New licensure law for hospital clinics

WSHA and a group of pharmacists are meeting with the Department of Health on requirements needed for the new law (SB 5460) that establishes several alternative paths for a hospital clinic to be licensed.  Ian Corbridge

August 11, 2015 – Pharmacy Commission issues cumbersome rules on sterile compounding

The Pharmacy Commission released its second draft rule for sterile compounding Aug. 11. The draft rule aims to provide minimum standards for all licensed facilities that compound sterile drugs. The rules are open for comment here through Sept. 30.

WSHA had a number of concerns with the initial draft and worked closely with the Washington State Pharmacy Association to submit joint comments to the Pharmacy Commission in February 2015. Though further review is needed, WSHA is still concerned with the nature and direction of the second draft. We are convening our members and will submit comments. (Ian Corbridge)

July 22, 2015 – Pharmacy investigations, a concerning trend across the state

We recently became aware of a handful of circumstances in which the Pharmacy Commission and the Washington State Department of Health have opened investigations against a hospital pharmacy license or the license of individual hospital pharmacists’. These investigations could jeopardize access to essential medications and could make it harder for hospitals to attract high-quality pharmacists.

We are extremely concerned about the approach the Pharmacy Commission is taking and the increasing number of pharmacy licenses being investigated across the state. We are working with the Department of Health to further understand its policies on investigations and the recent uptick in investigations against individual pharmacists. (Ian Corbridge)

May 28, 2015 – Potential rulemaking on pharmacists meal and rest breaks and accountability

 The Pharmacy Commission is investigating how to enforce meal and rest breaks for pharmacists and technicians in response to a pharmacists workforce survey conducted in 2014. Our policy position on this issue is that the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries has rules and the authority to address meal and rest breaks. We support the L&I current rules.

A rigid system like the one proposed by the Pharmacy Commission would compromise workflow and limit a pharmacist’s ability to manage his or her own meal and rest breaks and provide high-quality care.

We also understand the Pharmacy Commission is also considering adding requirements for the Pharmacist in Charge. The changes under consideration could have a detrimental impact on access while driving up the cost of care.

Maintaining access to high-quality health care while controlling costs is a priority for WSHA. On April 29, 2015, we submitted a letter to the commission outlining our position and concerns with the Pharmacy Commission’s inquiry on meal and rest breaks. (Ian Corbridge)

May 31, 2015 – Working to influence the practice of pharmacy at a national level

WSHA and the Washington State Pharmacy Association collaborated with a group of hospital pharmacy directors and joined with the American Hospital Association to submit comments to the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention on its proposed changes to the handling of hazardous drugs. These changes represent a national effort to more tightly control how hazardous drugs are stored, compounded and administered.
While well-intentioned, many of the proposed changes are concerning because of their potential for unintended consequences, including limiting access to medications and driving up health care costs. These unintended consequences would impact both urban and rural hospitals, but would take a greater toll on rural facilities. (Ian Corbridge).