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COVID-19 Resources for Pharmacy Professionals
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COVID-19 Updates and Resources

 

Join Us for the Next WSPA COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall

The COVID-19 Pandemic is impacting the world and Washington State pharmacists and technicians are in the epicenter.Your bravery and professionalism is unwavering and heroic! These virtual town hall events are a venue to share what you are experiencing, ask questions, hear updates, and tell WSPA what you need.


All are welcome and there is no cost to participate or download the podcast

 

WSPA Pharmacy COVID-19 News

Obviously, there is a flurry of information being shared. At WSPA, we want you to have the information your need to be informed on what you can do for your patients and protect yourself. The WSPA News Page contains information about WSPA's advocacy, and important announcement. Also check out our LinkedIn, Facebook Pages.


Updates

 

CDC Releases COVID-19 for Pharmacies Page

This page has consolidated recommendations for keeping pharmacy staff and patients safe.

 

State Healthcare Provider Organizations Request Liability Protection Waiver
On April 2, 2020, the WSPA collaborated with the Washington State Hospital Association and forty other state organizations on a
waiver request to the Governor’s Office regarding concerns about lack of liability protections for health care workers during the COVID-19 emergency response effort. Our letter requests a targeted waiver of state law to extend the protections currently in place for out-of-state emergency volunteer workers to those who are employed and working in state.

Governor Inslee Signs Temporary Waivers for Health Care Professionals

These proclamations temporary waive laws when issued by the governor. They are effective immediately and for 30 days unless extended by the legislature. PQAC and the WSPA are working with the Governor's office to address legal barriers that impact patient access to care during the pandemic. Below is a summary of how these waivers affect current pharmacy laws and its credential holders.

Proclamation 20-36 (effective now until April 29, 2020)


Ancillary Utilization Plans

Pharmacies will not need Commission approval to utilize pharmacy technicians and assistants. Pharmacies that currently do have approval to utilize pharmacy technicians and assistants will also be able to utilize pharmacy technicians and assistants in a manner that is currently inconsistent with their approved AUP. In addition, pharmacy technicians can engage in specialized functions (IV admixture and unit-dose checking) without approval of the Commission. While the approval of an AUP and specialized functions has been waived and suspended, pharmacy technicians and assistants will need to act within their statutory scope of practice and pharmacies/pharmacists remain responsible for actions taken by pharmacy technicians and assistants acting under their supervision.


License of Location

The “license of location” requirement for pharmacies has been waived and suspended. Consequently, pharmacies may store drugs outside of the physical confines of the pharmacy. Instead pharmacies could store drugs in other locations e.g. temporary pharmacy space that are not licensed. The pharmacy will still be responsible for drugs it stores outside of the physical confines of the pharmacy.


Differential Hours

Pharmacies do not need to notify the Commission thirty days before commencing differential hours. Pharmacies will also not need to undergo Commission inspection before commencing differential hours. This will affect pharmacies located within mercantile (retail) establishments.


Hand Sanitizer

All persons engaged in the manufacture and distribution of hand sanitizer to the public, may do so without obtaining a manufacturer license or shopkeeper registration. This includes both entities licensed by the Commission, and those that are not licensed by the Commission.



Proclamation 20-32 (effective now until April 25th)

 

"Immediate" supervision of technicians

The governor waived language in the pharmacy technician supervision definition in WAC 246-901-010(11) to allow all pharmacy technicians to perform duties during the waiver period without immediate supervision by a licensed pharmacist. Immediate supervision is defined as visual and/or physical proximity to a licensed pharmacist.

The waiver removes "immediate" from WAC 246-901-020(1) as it relates to pharmacy technicians performing non-discretionary duties, and specialized functions consistent with their training in pharmacy practice under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist; and WAC 246-901-040 as it relates to the “immediate” supervision of pharmacy technician trainees.


Retired Pharmacist license

The governor waived language in the retired pharmacist rule WAC 246-863-080(2), which would allow a pharmacist with a retired pharmacist credential to practice pharmacy. The proclamation waived the following language from the rule: “shall not be authorized to practice pharmacy and”.

Continuing Education Requirements for Pharmacist

This waiver removes the requirement for a pharmacist seeking reinstatement or reactivation of an expired license to provide proof of 15 continuing education hour for the last two most recent years. WAC 246-861-020.

This waiver removes the requirement to complete the equivalent of 1.5 continuing education unit (equal to fifteen contact hours) of continuing education for renewing a pharmacist license. WAC 246-861-090.

This waiver removes the requirement of a pharmacist to complete the three hours of suicide training from the department of health's model list with content related to imminent harm via lethal means, during the first full continuing education reporting period after initial licensure, WAC 246-861-105.


Seven hours of HIV/AIDS training for pharmacist

This waiver removes the requirement for pharmacist applicants to complete seven hours of HIV/AIDS training for initial licensure. RCW 70.24.280, WAC 246-863-120.


Continuing Education Requirements for Pharmacy Technicians

This waiver removes the requirement for pharmacy technicians to complete the minimum of ten continuing education hours or 1.0 continuing education unit (CEU), with one hour in pharmacy law, every renewal cycle following their first certification renewal, WAC 246-901-061.

 

Four hours of HIV/AIDS training for pharmacy technicians and pharmacy assistants

This waiver removes the requirement for pharmacy technician and assistant applicants to complete 4-hours of HIV/AIDS training for initial licensure. RCW 70.24.280, WAC 246-901-120.

 

These waivers are also be posted on the PQAC website in Plan-19 under the FAQs. More waivers have been submitted by PAC relating to hand sanitizer compounding, pharmacy licenses, and more. WSPA will send out notifications when signed by the Governor.


WSPA Collaborates with Pharmacy Advocacy Groups

Pharmacy organizations representing the interests of all pharmacists in the United States have released a joint set of policy recommendations critical to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medication Hoarding and Shortages

At the end of the week of March 15th, pharmacy professionals sounded the alarm of unethical prescribing of antimalarial and antibiotics for COVID-19. Subsequently, the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission and Washington Medical Commission issued statements on prescribing for COVID-19. The Medical Commission's statement has been echoed by other prescriber boards and commissions.

Washington State Updated Testing Information and Collection Instructions

Instructions for who should be tested, and how to collect nasal and mid-turbinate collection techniquest from Washington State Department of Health

 

WSPA Partners Share Information on CARES Act and Other Resources

 
A Clinician's Guide to Coronavirus

A summary of coronavirus from Harvard Medical School

 

What to do if pharmacy staff test positive for coronavirus?

The WSPA is seeking clarification from local health jurisdictions. We have heard back that unless the patients were in close contact with a sick person for more than 10 minutes, notification is not required. Exposed staff may continue to work, but should closely monitor themselves for fever or respiratory symptoms, and should wear a mask for 14 days if masks are available.

Pharmacy Personnel with Symptoms Can Get Tested

Drive-up testing for COVID-19 has been expanded. Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, assistants and pharmacy staff with fever >100.4 degrees or symptoms are invited to get COVID-19 tested at the public health sites. The state DOH has issued guidance for testing.

 

There are currently two state supporting testing sites available in Snohomish and Pierce Counties:

Snohomish County

Tacoma-Pierce County

If you cannot access these sites you should request testing through your health system or provider.

HHS on Private-Public Partnership to Increase Access to Tests

Pharmacies are public health anchors in their communities. They have been sources of medications, vaccinations and accurate information for years during emergencies. Pharmacies can increase access to COVID-19 testing. Read a summary of this meeting.

Volunteering to Help

Pharmacists and technicians who would like to volunteer their skills to public health should enroll as a Medical Reserve Corp Volunteer. You can volunteer online through the MRC site.  Pharmacists and technicians can help with pop up hospitals, medication distribution, mass vaccination, screening sites, etc.

Compounding Hand Sanitizer

The WSPA has expressed concerns to PQAC, USP and the FDA over limitations preventing compounding of hand sanitizer by pharmacies. Pursuant to the Pharmacy Commission’s discussion and vote during the Special Meeting, March 27, 2020, the commission will not refer or take enforcement actions against licensees or pharmacies that accept donated or manufactured hand sanitizer (using USP and/or non-USP grade ingredients) without obtaining a manufacturer license for consumer use and for health care personnel for the duration of the public health emergency. The hand sanitizer should be in a manner that is consistent with the guidance issued by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the United States Pharmacopeia on preparing alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

The Commission will provide an update when this position no longer effective or applicable.

The Commission thanks everyone for their patience and doing their part in providing the best care possible during these unprecedented times.


For pharmacists, pharmacies, and health care entities: https://www.fda.gov/media/136118/download, https://www.usp.org/sites/default/files/usp/document/about/public-policy/usp-covid19-handrub.pdf


For persons or entities not currently licensed or registered with the Commission: https://www.fda.gov/media/136289/download, https://www.usp.org/sites/default/files/usp/document/about/public-policy/usp-covid19-handrub.pdf


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Can pharmacies and health care entities manufacture hand sanitizer without obtaining a manufacturer license?

Pursuant to the Pharmacy’s Commission, pharmacies and health care entities that manufacture hand sanitizer in a manner that is consistent with the guidance issued by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or United States Pharmacopeia (using USP and/or non-USP grade ingredients) can do so without obtaining a manufacturer license. The guidance can be found at https://www.fda.gov/media/136118/download, https://www.usp.org/sites/default/files/usp/document/about/public-policy/usp-covid19-handrub.pdf.


Can individuals or business entities manufacture hand sanitizer for distribution to the public without obtaining a manufacturer license or shopkeeper registration?

Pursuant to the Pharmacy’s Commission, individuals or business entities that manufacture hand sanitizer for distribution to the public in a manner that is consistent with the guidance issued by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or United States Pharmacopeia (using USP and/or non-USP grade ingredients) can do so without obtaining a manufacturer license, pharmacy license, or shopkeeper registration. The guidance can be found at https://www.fda.gov/media/136289/download, https://www.usp.org/sites/default/files/usp/document/about/public-policy/usp-covid19-handrub.pdf

  

Washington State COVID-19 Resources                               

  Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission

 Health Care Authority (Medicaid and State Employees) COVID-19 Page

Washington Department of Health COVID-19 Page

  Daily literature review, patient handouts and guidelines

 

National Resources

 APhA's Pharmacists' Guide to Coronavirus

 This page has pharmacist specific information 

 

 ASHP COVID-19 Resource Page

 ASHP's resource page for health system pharmacists

 

CDC Healthcare Provider Page

 Exposures PPE sparing, and clinical guidance.


DEA COVID-19 Page

 CMS Coronavirus Page

 Contains CMS guidance and suspended site surveys

 
FDA COVID-19 Page

 Information from the FDA about testing approvals,  etc.

 Sanford Guide for Coronavirus

 Summary of the infection and course


 World Health Organization COVID-19 Page

 Situation reports, and technical guidance documents

 
USP Resources

Employer Resources

 Washington State Department of Labor and Industries                                                                      

 Resources for employers

 

 COVID-19 & Fair Labor Standards Act

 Remote work, using volunteers and part time workers

 

 Families First Summary by KFF

 Funding and ramifications for small employers and employees


 Small Business Administration: Resources and Loans

 Resources for pharmacies and the emergency loans

 

 Office of the Insurance Commissioner Q&A for COVID-19

A helpful Q&A about insurance changes related to COVID-19

 

 Washington Governor's Resource Page for Small Businesses

Resources available to small businesses

more Calendar

4/8/2020
Town Hall Webinar: COVID-19 Town Hall for Pharmacy Professionals

4/10/2020
Helping Patients with Behavior Change: Keep Calm and MI

4/14/2020
Independent Pharmacy Academy Monthly Calls

Online Surveys
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