HHS Gifts Pharmacists Expanded Vaccine Authority in Preparation for COVID Vaccine
Yes! This means you can give immunizations, if you meet the requirements, without having a protocol or collaborative practice agreement regardless of which state you are in because of the pharmacist expanded vaccine authority.
Working at the top of your license!
On August 19th, 2020, Secretary Azar issued an amendment “to increase access to life-saving childhood vaccines and decrease the risk of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks as children across the United States return to daycare, preschool, and school.” The amendment authorizes state-licensed pharmacists and qualified interns to order and administer vaccines to individuals ages three through 18 years, subject to several requirements. This expands vaccine authority for all pharmacists in all states.
What this means to licensed pharmacists…
- For any vaccine approved or licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and administered according to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) immunization schedules, pharmacists may now administer the vaccine under their own authority.
- The licensed pharmacist must complete a practical training program of at least 20 hours approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). This training program must include hands-on injection technique, clinical evaluation of indications and contraindications of vaccines, and the recognition and treatment of emergency reactions to vaccines.
- The licensed or registered pharmacy intern must complete a practical training program that is approved by the ACPE. This training program must include hands-on injection technique, clinical evaluation of indications and contraindications of vaccines, and the recognition and treatment of emergency reactions to vaccines.
- The licensed pharmacist or pharmacy intern must have a current certificate in basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
- The licensed pharmacist must complete a minimum of two hours of ACPE-approved, immunization-related continuing pharmacy education during each State licensing period.
- The licensed pharmacist must comply with recordkeeping and reporting requirements of the jurisdiction in which he or she administers vaccines, including informing the patient’s primary-care provider when available, submitting the required immunization information to the State or local immunization information system (vaccine registry), complying with requirements concerning reporting adverse events, and complying with requirements whereby the person administering a vaccine must review the vaccine registry or other vaccination records before administering a vaccine.
- The licensed pharmacist must inform his or her childhood-vaccination patients, and the adult caregivers accompanying the children of the importance of a well-child visit with a pediatrician or other licensed primary care provider and refer patients as appropriate.
Billing At The Top Of Your License!
With your pharmacists’ expanded vaccine authority, you will also want expanded billing authority. HHS is positioned to provide additional direction to states, especially Medicaid, and other payors concerning reimbursement for provided patient care services. Being paid as a provider is a critical step to diversifying your revenue and creating a stronger pharmacy. You can get started on the billing path by ensuring you take the following steps:
- Make sure every RPh has her own NPI number.
- Medicare has waived all of their applications fees during the COVID pandemic, so get your pharmacy signed up for all of Medicare’s programs.
- Ensure your liability insurance covers immunization administration
- Get your staff trained in OSHA’s bloodborne pathogen training
- Check that every person that processes prescriptions knows how to enter the proper administration codes into your pharmacy management system
- Prepare marketing assets to tell your community
- Stay up to date with NCPA
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Growing your clinical revenue is healthy for your pharmacy’s bottom line, as well as your community’s health. Read our blog on 3 Easy Strategies To Grow Your Clinical Revenue.