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  2. IPA Call to Action regarding COVID-19

IPA Call to Action regarding COVID-19

By Darren Covington, Executive Vice President on 3/26/2020

We need your help! On March 17 and March 23, the Indiana Pharmacists Association reached out to Governor Holcomb recommending that he take certain emergency actions to assist pharmacies in responding to COVID-19.  These recommendations came from Indiana pharmacists who have seen medication hoarding, inappropriate prescribing, barriers to care from limited prescriber availability, and other problems that are endangering patients and healthcare workers alike.  
Please contact the Governor’s office by calling 317-232-4567 or going here to email him:   Share your personal experiences of problems that are facing you on the front lines of healthcare. We want to be proactive in addressing these issues. Time is of the essence.  Urge them to act quickly on IPA’s recommendations!
As a reminder, here are the current recommendations:
-Prohibit the prescribing of medications, mainly hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, for COVID-19 "prevention". These medications could still be prescribed with a legitimate written diagnosis.
-Permit a 90-day emergency refill for non-controlled substances. 
-Permit a 90-day emergency refill for controlled substances, classified as C3-5. At a minimum, we ask that anti-seizure medications that are controlled substances be included. 
-Permit a provisional license for pharmacy personnel who apply to be licensed in the state of Indiana, but are waiting on the results of a criminal background check. The company that completes the criminal background check is currently closed.
-Permit a waiver for prescribing of opioids via telemedicine. The DEA has clarified that opioids may be prescribed via telemedicine methods during a public health emergency.
-Permit pharmacy technicians to enter a hospital pharmacy without a pharmacist present in the event a pharmacist is unavailable. This would be allowed during a public health emergency in order to retrieve emergency medications and medications used to fill automated dispensing cabinets. 
-Permit pharmacists to provide remote verification of dispensing functions performed by a technician without first obtaining a remote dispensing facility license or remote location permit.
- Permit a Medicaid waiver for patient self-testing to manage warfarin. Patients would be able to monitor and report their INR levels to the pharmacist for remote management.
-Permit pharmacists and technicians to work remotely to perform non-dispensing functions and loosening remote work from home requirements.
- Ensure infection control procedures are implemented in pharmacies; Ohio's Board of Pharmacy issued this guidance:
-Suspend pharmacist/technician ratios in the event of a worker shortage
-Permit pharmacy activities (such as testing/vaccines) outside of the licensed pharmacy area
-Permit pharmacists to make therapeutic class substitutions in the event of drug shortages.
-Suspend prior authorization in Medicaid to permit patients to receive drugs without delay.
- Permit pharmacists to provide approved therapies for COVID-19 pursuant to any standing order. 
-Permit pharmacists to provide COVID-19 vaccinations, once available.
- Waive Medicaid’s signature delivery requirement.