Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 611
By: Turner, Bob
Public Health


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


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. 


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.  


September 1, 2001.