HBA-CCH H.B. 611 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 611 By: Turner, Bob Public Health 2/21/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The Texas Senate Health Committee reports that 87% of Texas counties, in whole or in part, are considered medically underserved. Since 1997, Texas has experienced a loss of more than 57 rural clinics and five rural hospitals. One issue of concern is the severe shortage of pharmacists in Texas. Among rural counties in Texas, 19 counties have no active pharmacy thereby forcing those patients and even some patients within larger counties to travel great distances to reach a pharmacy. House Bill 611 authorizes the use of telepharmacies in areas where there is not a pharmacy. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy in SECTION 1 (Section 562.109, Occupations Code) and SECTION 2 of this bill. ANALYSIS House Bill 611 amends the Occupations Code to authorize a community or institutional pharmacy located in this state to provide telepharmacy services through a telepharmacy system only if the telepharmacy system is to be located at a health care facility in this state and regulated by this state or the United States that is not at the same location as the operating pharmacy. The bill provides that a telepharmacy system is required to be under the continuous supervision of a pharmacist as determined by board rule. The bill provides that the pharmacist is not required to be physically present at the site of the telepharmacy system to qualify as continuous supervision for a telepharmacy system. The bill requires a pharmacist to supervise a telepharmacy system electronically by audio and video communication. The bill requires the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (board) to adopt rules regarding the use of a telepharmacy system no later than February 28, 2002. The rules are to include the types of health care facilities at which a telepharmacy system may be located, record keeping requirements, and security requirements. The bill prohibits pharmacy services from being provided through a telepharmacy system until the board adopts such rules. The bill prohibits a telepharmacy system from being located in a community in which a community or institutional pharmacy is located. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.