The 2016 legislative session is in high gear, and the Tennessee Pharmacists Association is active yet again on Capitol Hill, advocating for Tennessee’s patients, pharmacists, and pharmacy professionals. Please CLICK HERE to see TPA’s complete 2016 legislative agenda, learn more about TPA’s legislative priorities. To find out how you can actively participate in shaping the future of pharmacy practice through grassroots advocacy efforts, please visit the TPA Legislative Advocacy Center.
Below are some highlights of pharmacy-related issues being considered in Tennessee in 2016:
MEDICATION THERAPY MANAGEMENT IN MEDICAID
TPA has worked with bill sponsors to introduce HB 2398 by Littleton, Shepard, Sexton C and SB 1882 by McNally, Crowe, Overbey, Haile in 2016. This legislation requires TennCare, in collaboration with the various Managed Care Organizations administering the medical benefits on behalf of TennCare, to develop and incorporate a Medication Therapy Management program. As a reminder, in 2015, TPA worked with Chairman Randy McNally to support Senate Joint Resolution 104 (SJR104), a resolution which urges the Bureau of TennCare to incorporate Medication Therapy Management (MTM) to benefit patients, improve quality, and control costs. This was a very positive resolution, and TPA was heavily engaged in supporting this effort. According to information provided by the Bureau of TennCare in conjunction with this resolution, the underlying purpose of Medication Therapy Management is to improve quality and cost effectiveness, and the TennCare pharmacy team has been evaluating MTM as a potential cost savings measure which may be implemented with or without the resolution. According to the state’s Fiscal Noteattached to SJR104 in 2015, if Medication Therapy Management were mandated, it could be implemented in a manner that is, at worst, revenue neutral.
STATE-WIDE COLLABORATIVE PHARMACY PRACTICE AGREEMENT FOR THE DISPENSING OF OPIOID ANTAGONISTS BY PHARMACISTS
TPA has worked with bill sponsors to introduce HB 2225 by Terry, Williams, Sexton C, Doss, Dunlap, Howell, Hazlewood and SB 2403 by Overbey, Haile in 2016. This legislation seeks to increase patient access to life-saving opioid antagonist therapy through a state-wide collaborative pharmacy practice agreement (CPPA) with the Chief Medical Officer for the Tennessee Department of Health. If enacted, pharmacists can enter into a CPPA to dispense opioid antagonists, effectively reducing barriers to this important medication, effectively reducing the number of opioid overdose deaths and saving the lives of many Tennesseans.
AUTHORIZATION OF PHARMACY SERVICES ADMINISTRATIVE ORGANIZATIONS TO FILE MAC APPEALS ON BEHALF OF CONTRACTED PHARMACIES
HB 1697 by Shepard and SB 1789 by Overbey, McNally, is a joint effort between TPA, Southern Pharmacy Cooperative, and other pharmacy organizations to clarify language in the maximum allowable cost (MAC) legislation from 2014 and grant a pharmacy the right to designate a pharmacy services administrative organization (PSAO) or other agent to file and handle its appeal of the maximum allowable cost of a particular drug or medical product or device.
RENEWAL OF THE PRESCRIPTION SAFETY ACT
In 2016, the Tennessee General Assembly will seek to renew the Prescription Safety Act of 2012 through HB 2571 by McCormick, Brooks K, Hawk and SB 2552 by Norris, Yager. The Prescription Safety Act is scheduled to sunset on June 30, 2016, unless the Prescription Safety Act is renewed during this legislative session. TPA has been heavily engaged with the Department of Health on this legislative initiative and continues to advocate for the professional responsibility of providers in preventing prescription drug abuse while ensuring that the burden on pharmacists is minimal.
PHARMACIST-PROVIDED CONTRACEPTIVE THERAPY
HB 1823 by Hazlewood and SB 1677 by Dickerson, as well as HB 1847 by Jernigan andSB 1958 by Yarbro, have been introduced in 2016. The overall goal of these legislative initiatives is to increase patient access to contraceptive therapy through the use of pharmacists. TPA is currently working with bill sponsors on language which is in the best interest of our patients and our providers in Tennessee. This legislative effort is similar to efforts which have been enacted in Oregon and California.
TPA will continue to keep members informed about these and other legislative issues as developments unfold.