Opposition to California provider status bill dropped

California Medical Association ‘neutral’ on amended version


After several amendments to a California bill (SB 493) that specifies and expands the role of the pharmacist and includes future provider status if passed, all organized opposition has been dropped. The bill has passed the California Senate, but still needs to be considered by the State Assembly.

The California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) said in a statement that the California Medical Association (CMA) had delivered a letter to state Sen. Ed Hernandez, the author of the bill, removing its opposition to the bill. CPhA said other physician specialty groups would also be announcing their neutrality soon.

“This exciting development reflects the recognition in the provider community of pharmacists’ high level of training and expertise, and of the contributions that pharmacists can make to patient care,” the CPhA statement said.

The withdrawal of opposition was a “product of long negotiations,” Brian Warren, CPhA Director of Government of Affairs, told pharmacist.com, including the agreement to remove prescriptive authority for antidepressant smoking cessation from the bill.

The bill, if signed into law, would provide new authorities for pharmacists in California, including ordering and interpreting tests to monitor and manage the efficacy and toxicity of drug therapies and initiating and administering routine vaccinations, as previously reported.

SB 493 is currently in the Assembly, Warren said, which is on recess at the moment. It will have a hearing in the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection on August 6, and then another in the Assembly Committee on Health on August 13, he said.

CMA’s Juan Thomas, Associate Director of the Center for Governmental Relations, wrote in a letter to Hernandez that the CMA was thankful for the amendments that could possibly improve vaccine access for children and access to nicotine-based smoking cessation products for adults.

“The bill as proposed to be amended also enables pharmacists, with the appropriate education and training, to attain an Advance Practice Pharmacist designation,” Thomas wrote. “This will help improve the communication and coordination between the patient, their physician and their pharmacists.”