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SF 296 Advancing Pharmacists’ Services to Be Signed into Law

Governor Reynolds will sign SF 296 today during a bill signing ceremony. SF 296 helps expand patient access to vital services through test and treat and collaborative pharmacy practice.

This afternoon, Governor Reynolds will sign SF 296 during a bill signing ceremony in the Governor's formal office. SF 296 helps expand patient access to vital services through ‘test and treat' (point of care testing and treatment) and collaborative pharmacy practice.

Why is this important? Both rural and urban areas in Iowa face healthcare deserts, leaving some towns and counties with little to no immediate access to certain healthcare services. With 90 percent of Americans living within five miles of a community pharmacy, pharmacists represent a readily accessible healthcare professional.

Under the newly signed legislation, patients six years and older will be able to enter their local pharmacy and receive not only a rapid test to determine whether they may have flu, strep, or COVID-19, but then also immediately receive treatment following a positive test. ‘Test and treat,' as this process is termed, allows for the screening and treatment process to be completed during a single encounter with a pharmacist, thereby improving access to care and patient outcomes.

SF 296 also broadens the ability of pharmacists and other healthcare providers to enter into collaborative practice agreements (CPAs). CPAs can benefit collaborative care delivery by identifying what functions, in addition to the pharmacist's typical scope of practice, are delegated to the pharmacist by the collaborating practitioner under negotiated conditions outlined in the agreement. Often, this allows the prescriber to utilize the pharmacy as an extension of their practice to help monitor patients, their drug therapy, and whether their dosage may need to be adjusted.

Kate Gainer, Executive Vice President & CEO of the Iowa Pharmacy Association, stated, “Iowa's pharmacists continually step up to meet the needs of their community and provide access to important health care services. COVID-19 vaccinations and local access to care throughout the pandemic has increased the public's awareness of pharmacists' role in healthcare today.”

Although the law will be effective July 1, patients can expect to see pharmacies offering these services beginning in the fall of 2021 when the Iowa Board of Pharmacy is expected to finalize rules implementing the legislation.

While Iowa's pharmacists have already played an indispensable role in fighting COVID-19 and serving their communities, SF 296 is poised to allow one of America's most trusted healthcare professionals to play an even bigger role in keeping Iowans healthy in the future.

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