|Pharmacy working conditions
|Ended on 11/22/2023
On behalf of the Virginia Pharmacy Association Government Affairs Committee, I am writing to express our support for the proposed regulations. I am a board-certified psychiatric pharmacist and registered pharmacist in the state of Virginia.
HB 1324, led by Delegate Keith Hodges, passed last year’s legislative session with overwhelming bipartisan support. The law was directed at improving the practice of pharmacy in the Commonwealth for the benefit of safeguarding the health, safety, and welfare of patients. The law requires the regulations include the following provisions:
(i) addressing sufficient pharmacy staffing to prevent fatigue, distraction, or other conditions that interfere with a pharmacist's ability to practice with competence and safety;
(ii) stating standards for uninterrupted rest periods and meal breaks for pharmacy personnel;
(iii) stating standards that ensure adequate time for pharmacists to complete professional duties and responsibilities, including drug utilization reviews, immunization administration, patient counseling, and verification of prescription accuracy; and
(iv) limiting external factors such as productivity or production quotas to the extent that such factors interfere with the ability to provide appropriate professional services to the public.
The proposed regulations address all parts of the legislation as written.
We appreciate the creation of a “Staffing Requests or Concerns Form” as well as prohibiting disciplinary action against the reporting staff member. We encourage the Board to engage in public conversation with pharmacists regarding how the Staffing Requests or Concerns Form will be used and responded to. We request clarification regarding the term “permit holder”, as this is often an organization, company, or board and not an individual person. In the context of the Staffing Requests or Concerns Form, it is unclear who the form should be submitted to. Would it be more appropriate if “permit holder” was replaced by the pharmacist in charge or a designated representative of the permit holder? We want to ensure that the regulations are clear for pharmacists practicing in all settings, including community and hospital pharmacists.
18VAC110-20-113(C) proposes that “A pharmacy permit holder shall not override the control of the pharmacist on duty regarding all aspects of the practice of pharmacy”. We suggest amending this section to likewise prohibit direct or indirect disciplinary action or retaliation against a pharmacist who exercises such control. This would allay concerns pharmacists may have about exercising their rights under this regulation.
We appreciate the opportunity to offer comment regarding these proposed regulations.
Joseph Cusimano, PharmD, BCPP
2023-2024 Virginia Pharmacy Association Government Affairs Committee Chair