Tennessee Pharmacists Association
You Have a Voice: TPA

It’s been a busy week on Capitol Hill in Nashville! Below are some notable items of interest and several ongoing pharmacy priority issues needing advocacy action by TPA members.


Shepard Confirmed as University of Tennessee Board of Trustees Member
TPA congratulates pharmacist, long-time TPA member, and former State Representative, Dr. David Shepard of Dickson, on his confirmation by the State Senate to a term as a member of the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees representing the 5th Congressional District. To read State Senate Resolution 32 confirming Dr. Shepard, CLICK HERE.

Skiles Confirmed as Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commissioner
TPA congratulates pharmacist and long-time TPA member, Dr. Richard Skiles of Kenton, on being named the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commissioner for the Western Section of Tennessee. Dr. Skiles is a pharmacy owner and community pharmacist, and has also served on the Kenton school board. To read more, CLICK HERE.

Governor Haslam’s IMPROVE Act passes House and Senate 
This week, the State House and State Senate both approved Governor Haslam’s proposed IMPROVE Act (or “Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy Act”) to help fund Tennessee’s $10.5 billion backlog in road projects. As amended, Haslam’s bill would increase gas and diesel taxes by 6 cents and 10 cents respectively over the next three years. It also has several fee increases, including a $5 car registration increase and a $100 fee on electric car users. The bill also cuts about $420 million in general fund taxes, including a 20 percent reduction in the state’s sales tax on grocery store food purchases and a reduction in the state’s franchise and excise corporate taxes on manufacturers. For more information, CLICK HERE.

Tennessee’s “Pharmacists as Providers” Law PASSED!

This legislation was passed and signed into law on March 31, 2017! With its passage, Tennessee state legislators and Governor Haslam have shown support for our patients and affirmed the role of pharmacists as members on the health care team in Tennessee. Click here for more information.
  • Legislation: HB 0405 / SB 0461
  • House Sponsor(s): Terry, Sexton C, Swann, Dunn, Byrd
  • Senate Sponsor(s): Bell, Haile, Crowe, Overbey
  • Description: Effective July 1, 2017, this law expands current code to include pharmacists in the list of classes of providers which managed health insurance issuers are prohibited from discriminating against as providers in medical networks, with respect to participation, referral, reimbursement of covered services or indemnification, solely on the basis of their license or certification, if such providers are acting within the scope of their license or certification.
  • What This Legislation Is Intended to Do:
    • This legislation adds “pharmacists” as providers of care in existing state insurance code (TCA 56-32-129).
    • This legislation provides a pathway for pharmacists who are acting within the scope of their license or certification under state law to be credentialed with managed health insurance issuers and enable them to participate, receive referrals, and be reimbursed for covered services or indemnification.
    • This legislation creates a mechanism for pharmacists to participate as members of the larger health care team, resulting in increased communication, collaboration, and patient referrals, as appropriate, to physicians and other health care providers for further assessment, management, and treatment.

2017 TPA Priority Legislation Requiring Immediate Action

Medication Therapy Management (MTM) Pilot Program for TennCare Beneficiaries – SUPPORT!
Take action now! This legislation is currently being considered. Funding is needed to support SB 0398 and HB 628, so contact your legislators today and urge them to support funding to increase TennCare patient access to pharmacist-provided Medication Therapy Management (MTM) services!

Take Actionwww.votervoice.net/TNPA/campaigns/44786/respond

  • Legislation: HB 0628  / SB 0398
  • House Sponsor(s): Kumar
  • Senate Sponsor(s): Haile
  • Description: As amended, this legislation would establish a pharmacist-provided Medication Therapy Management (MTM) pilot program within the TennCare program. By enacting this legislation and establishing this MTM pilot program, TennCare patients would gain access to pharmacist-provided MTM services. Pharmacist-provided MTM services have demonstrated significant value through improved patient health outcomes, increased quality of care, and decreased costs to taxpayers in other state Medicaid programs.

Professional Privilege Tax Repeal – SUPPORT!

Take action now! This legislation continues to be discussed, so continue to contact your legislators!

Take Action www.votervoice.net/TNPA/campaigns/50145/respond

  • Legislation: HB 0041 / SB 0132 / (5-Year Repeal)
  • House Sponsor(s): VanHuss, Matlock, White D, Lynn, Casada, Goins, Butt, Hulsey, Hill M, Crawford, Calfee, Hill T, Kane, Lovell, Holsclaw, Ragan, Rudd, Rogers, Howell, Sparks, Holt
  • Senate Sponsor(s): Bowling, Lundberg, Kyle, Gresham, Gardenhire, Watson, Johnson, Beavers, Southerland, Niceley, Norris, Massey, Bailey, Yager, Kelsey, Briggs, Green, Hensley, Ketron, Harris
  • Description: As introduced, phases out the professional privilege tax over a five-year period for tax years that begin on and after June 1, 2017.

Drug Donation Repository Program – SUPPORT!

Take action now! This legislation has been passed by the Senate and is scheduled to be heard in the full House as early as next week!

  • Legislation: HB 0137 / SB 0429
  • House Sponsor(s): Sexton C
  • Senate Sponsor(s): Kelsey
  • Description of legislation:
    • Authorizes the Department of Health, in cooperation with the Board of Pharmacy, to promulgate rules to establish and enforce a prescription drug donation repository program under which a person or organization may donate prescription drugs and supplies for use by a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that meets eligibility criteria specified by rule for administering the program.
    • Establishes requirements and guidelines for which a prescription drug or supplies may be accepted and dispensed under the prescription drug donation repository program.
    • Requires the Department of Health to adopt rules pursuant to the drug donation repository program.
    • Establishes that participation in the program is voluntary.
    • Does not restrict the use of samples, does not authorize the resale of prescription drugs by any person through this program, and does not authorize dispensing of prescription drugs after the expiration date of the drug.

Drug Disposal in Long-Term Care Facilities  – SUPPORT!

Take action now! This legislation has been passed by the Senate and is scheduled to be heard in the full House as early as next week.

  • Legislation: HB 0519 / SB 1320
  • House Sponsor(s): Sexton C, Matheny
  • Senate Sponsor(s): Crowe
  • Description of legislation:
    • Authorizes a nursing home to participate in a drug donation repository program until the Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities (BLHCF) promulgates rules to effectuate such participation.
    • Directs the BLHCF to use emergency rulemaking to promulgate rules by January 1, 2018, to permit facilities to dispose of controlled substances and other prescription drugs by destruction using any means permitted by the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
    • Directs the BLHCF to use emergency rulemaking to promulgate rules by January 1, 2018, to permit the disposal by donation or other means, including a drug donation repository program, of prescription drugs that are not controlled substances.

Legislation Not Passed or Action Deferred to 2018

Direct and Indirect Remuneration (DIR) Restrictions and Licensing of Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBM)

Action deferred to 2018. TPA provided testimony to the Senate Investigations and Oversight Committee on February 14, 2017, regarding DIR fees and their detrimental effect on patients and community pharmacies. DIR fees are currently being assessed by PBMs through the Medicare program, which is outside the jurisdiction of any state legislature. TPA will continue to discuss the negative impact of these fees on patients and community pharmacies.

  • Legislation: HB 0569  / SB 0392
  • House Sponsor(s): Powers, Sexton C, Ragan
  • Senate Sponsor(s): Haile, Dickerson
  • Description: As amended, this legislation would seek to ensure greater transparency by establishing that a covered entity or PBM may only assess, charge, or hold a pharmacy responsible for fees related to the adjudication of a claim if that fee is apparent to the pharmacy at the time of claim processing, reported on the remittance advice of the adjudicated claim, or set out in the contract between the PBM and the pharmacy. This legislation would also require all PBMs operating in Tennessee to license with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

Medication Synchronization

This legislation was voted down by the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee last week. No further action in 2017. 

  • Legislation: HB 0139 / SB 0799
  • House Sponsor(s): Sexton C
  • Senate Sponsor(s): Dickerson
  • Description: As introduced, prohibits health insurance policies from using prorated dispensing fees or denying coverage for dispensing of medication in accordance with the synchronization of medication; and requires health insurance policies to apply prorated cost-sharing to dispensing of medication in accordance with synchronization of medication.

Oral Chemotherapy Parity 

Action deferred to 2018. 

  • Legislation: HB 1059 / SB 0922
  • House Sponsor(s): Lamberth, Casada, Powers, Terry, Brooks K, Hill M, Carr, Matheny, Kane, White M, Littleton, McCormick, Hazlewood, Johnson, Farmer, Butt, Kumar, Fitzhugh, Stewart, Camper, Hill T, Faison, Hicks, White D, Akbari, Calfee, Gilmore, Swann, Jernigan, Powell, Ramsey, Pody, Love, Windle, Sargent
  • Senate Sponsor(s): Ketron, Jackson, Dickerson, Massey, Briggs, Yager, Haile, Beavers, Bowling
  • Description: As introduced, prohibits an insurance policy that provides benefits for anti-cancer medications that are injected or intravenously administered by a healthcare provider and anti-cancer medications that are patient administered from requiring a higher copayment, deductible, or coinsurance amount for the patient administered anti-cancer medication than for the injected or intravenously administered anti-cancer medication.

Non-Medical Switching 

This legislation was voted down by the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee last week. No further action in 2017.  

  • Legislation: HB 0960 / SB 0991
  • House Sponsor(s): Terry, Casada, Hill T, Hawk, Matheny, Williams, Towns, Hill M, Pitts, Kumar, Akbari, Ramsey, Jernigan, Brooks K
  • Senate Sponsor(s): Green, Hensley, Watson, Briggs, Ketron, Dickerson, Kyle
  • Description: As introduced, this legislation would have prohibited a health insurance entity from taking certain actions with respect to coverage of prescription drugs outside of open enrollment periods.