California Pharmacists Legally Providing Primary Care Soon…And Getting Paid

Jp Enlarged

California pharmacists nearing provider-status

Drug Topics, 9/20/13   Mark Lowery

 Pharmacists throughout California are a signature away from being able to give a full range of immunizations, as well as dispensing birth control pills and certain medications for international travel.

Earlier this month, a pharmacist provider-status bill passed both houses of the California State Assembly. The bill has been delivered to California Governor Jerry Brown, who has until October 13 to act. If the governor signs it, the law would take effect in January.

“The California Pharmacists Association (CPHA) is pleased that the California State legislature has recognized the added value that pharmacists can play in providing expanded access to care to patients in California communities,” said Jon Roth, CPHA CEO. “This legislation, SB 493, is an acknowledgment that the education, training, and skills of pharmacists go far beyond providing medications to patients.”

Under present law, pharmacists in California can only give flu shots and emergency contraception. The new law would authorize pharmacists to administer drugs and biological products. It would also expand the duties pharmacists in California can legally perform, including furnishing self-administered hormonal contraceptives, prescribing smoking cessation drugs, and prescribing medications not requiring a diagnosis that are recommended for international travelers.

“Pharmacists are vastly underutilized for the amount of training and education they receive,” said Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), who sponsored the bill. “The pharmacy profession can play and will play an important role in this expansion mode, and they’ll need an expansion of their scope of service to enable them to do so.”

The new law also establishes board recognition and training requirements for an advanced practice pharmacist with expanded functions. Pharmacists would also gain the authority to order and interpret tests to monitor and manage efficacy and toxicity of drug therapies



  1. pharmacyslave2000  •  Sep 26, 2013 @4:12 pm

    Not so fast JP. I don’t see anything in this article about “getting paid”. What I see are “expanded duties” and more responsibility. No mention of how exactly an individual pharmacist is going to “get paid” because IT AIN’T GOING TO HAPPEN. We are employees. Our employers will get paid. We will receive nothing more than a new set of metrics and more stress. Furthermore, when exactly are we supposed to fit these new acquired responsibilities into our workday? Everyone on here complains of a lack of ancillary help, yet we are now going to be prescribing? How? When? Will we have access to the patient’s medical records? Will we know anything more about them other than what they tell us? This has giant liability issue written all over it. I want absolutely no part of this.

  2. Pharmaciststeve  •  Sep 26, 2013 @4:22 pm

    @slave.. real easy… like the rumor about WAGS in San Francisco.. you hire new RPH’s for $30/hr and 30 hrs a week and no benefits.. and staffing should not be a problem

    IMO… academia’s finger prints are all over this bill.. given this quote..

    The new law also establishes board recognition and training requirements for an advanced practice pharmacist with expanded functions.

  3. pharmacyslave2000  •  Sep 26, 2013 @4:29 pm

    Pharmaciststeve, I wonder how much it will cost to become an “advanced practice pharmacist”. Leave it to California to give us this gem.

  4. Pharmaciststeve  •  Sep 26, 2013 @7:23 pm

    @Slave… academia is wanting to move to a 7 yr program by 2020… and they want to require a BS before RPH school.. throw in 1-2 residencies … and you will be 30 before one can collect a paycheck.. just imagine the total student debt load with all that schooling…

  5. McPharmacist  •  Sep 26, 2013 @8:09 pm

    Fantastic….more stuff to do without more help…..just what we need

  6. broncofan7  •  Sep 26, 2013 @8:44 pm

    While on the surface it seems like great news, Pharmacyslave is correct…what is the business model to support these new capabilities and their corresponding responsibilities? If I were an INDY owner in Cali I’d be talking to the state board of Pharmacy(along with the CA Pharm Assoc) about how far I could push the boundaries of Pharamcy practice with regard to dispensing OC’s in particular. Charge $50 Cash for a 15 min OC consultation, no long wait in a Doctor’s waiting room for patients or a higher office visit copay and the INDY’s will see a huge increase in gross income. For the employee Pharmacist’s Slave is correct; just an increase in responsibility.

    From an insurance perspective, will the insurance companies begin reimbursing us via our individual NPI #’s? Or have they given no consideration whatsoever to paying Pharmacist’s for these services. I give you the example of Nurse Practitioners who although in some states an practice independent of physician oversight, still are unable to truly set up an independent practice because MANY private insurers will not pay them for services so they are left to performing services for CASH patients mostly. A nice first baby step for sure, but nothing more.

  7. Peon  •  Sep 26, 2013 @9:22 pm

    With regard to chain pharmacy, any added use for pharmacists is just extra work for pharmacists without extra pay. And, it increases the risk of being sued. Never expand what you do unless you get paid for it.

  8. Broncofan7  •  Sep 27, 2013 @9:11 pm

    What a worst case scenario could be is the chain stores forcing employee pharmacists to provide these OC consultations ( and increasing the RPHs personal liability) for FREE thinking that they “will make it up” by being able to dispense the OC medication. That’s precisely what our profession DOESN’T need; the pimping out of our professional services for FREE by our chain drug store employer.

  9. Peon  •  Sep 27, 2013 @10:17 pm

    Broncofan7, you are right! Most of us are employees. Any additional responsibility we assume will not be offset by increased income. All the talk about pharmacists expanding their roles in healthcare are negative factors for us chain employees. We don’t need expanded responsibilities. We already have more responsibility than we should have.

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