Was it only a matter of time ?

This showed up in my inbox… From reading this.. any RPH in Michigan… should get their head out of their ass… It would appear that your State Association.. is pushing the profession down thru a hole of no return. Pt won’t know what hits them.. until the mistakes/errors start showing up… and pts starts getting harmed/killed… but.. if corporate pharmacy increases profits.. they can afford to settle more errors/mistakes that harm pts…

The push for operating pharmacies without pharmacists has come to Michigan. It’s arrived in the form of SB 373 (see below) that allows for the Board of Pharmacy to waive rules for pilot projects. The chain pushing for this, HomeTown Pharmacy, is upfront that they want to get a pilot study approved to run 3-4 pharmacies with one pharmacist available via skype. They envision this bill being for them and them alone.  But we know the intent is to get the pilot project rule waivers made into permanent law.

It’s complicated because while Hometown Pharmacy is telling everyone the bill is about telepharmacy is rural areas, the bill is not about this at all.

The bill has already passed the Senate. I don’t think Senators actually knew what they were voting for – the message is always that this is great for rural pharmacies and no one thinks beyond that

It appears that the Michigan Pharmacists Association is supporting this bill but I can’t figure out who gave the staff the authority to do this. The Executive Board members I know told me that the Board never approved support. MPA is not giving pharmacists the full picture on the bill so no one was paying attention.

LANSING—The Michigan Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a measure sponsored by Sen. Goeff Hansen that could establish new approaches to the way medical prescriptions are delivered.

Senate Bill 373 would enable pharmacies to conduct pilot projects that could utilize new or expanded technologies or processes to provide patients with better pharmacy products in a more efficient manner.

This legislation will maintain and enhance patient access to necessary pharmacy services while ensuring the patient’s safety,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “In the pharmacy industry, new technologies and practices have the potential to improve access to products and services for the consumer.”

Hansen said that currently, automated machines are allowed to dispense prescription drugs in limited designated facilities, such as hospitals, hospices and nursing homes. Michigan pharmacists are required to be available for questions from customers each time a new prescription is dispensed, regardless of the location.

However, Michigan law does not take into consideration technology that would allow the customer to communicate with a pharmacist via a video screen. By authorizing the Michigan Board of Pharmacy to conduct a pilot project, dispensing machines could be installed to allow customers to have access to pharmacists via video.

Authorizing pilot projects, such as the use of video technology, gives pharmacies the ability to explore innovative ideas on a small scale under controlled conditions,” Hansen said. “If these ideas are successful, they could then be offered across Michigan.”

Hansen emphasized that his bill will not affect the doctor-patient relationship.

Doctors will still be the ones prescribing the medication,” he said. “Pharmacies will simply fill those prescriptions. A patient’s relationship with his or her doctor remains vital to ensure patient safety and effective health care.”

SB 373 has been sent to the Michigan House for consideration.

2 Responses

  1. Wow. Didn’t hear anything about this one. Looks like I need to get on the horn. I like that last bit from senator Hansen. “Pharmacies will simply fill those prescriptions…” And this guy has the support of MPA? Couldn’t imagine being one of those pharmacists putting my license on the line via Skpe. What if the internet goes down? Especially in rural areas may not have the most stable of internet connections. Will I have to have the tech describe the tablet over the phone then?
    There are so many small interactions that take place at the counter that can’t be captured in a study or metrics that have a direct impact on the patient’s health. How many times have you spoke briefly to the patient about a med and they came away from the doctor’s office with the completely wrong understanding of their regimen. It doesn’t take much to set it straight but an important interaction nonetheless. Have to put in a call to my rep this morning then call MPA and see why I am paying them money.

  2. I’ve said it before but our profession is hanging on by a thread. With the stroke of a legislative pen the government could mandate that one pharmacist could oversee multiple pharmacies by video. With tech check tech checking the scripts or even an offsite pharmacist just verifying that what is typed in matches the scripts.

    Just a pen stroke away and all those diplomas and licenses will be worth only the paper they are written on. Sad how far down the rabbit hole we have come.

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