This report, requested by the Chairman of the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions, reviews the effect of statutory provisions contained in House Bills 1961 and 1966. The bills, which were left in committee, were introduced by Delegate Thomas Davis Rust to make the following changes:
• HB 1961 would require the Board of Pharmacy “to promulgate regulations including the criteria for recusal of individual Board members from participation in any disciplinary proceeding involving a pharmacy, pharmacist or pharmacy technician with whom the Board member works, or by whom the member is employed."
• HB 1966 would allow “anyone to report to the Board of Pharmacy any information on a pharmacist, pharmacy intern, or pharmacy technician who may have substance abuse or mental health issues that render him a danger to himself or others."
Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC) staff reviewed the Board of Pharmacy’s disciplinary process and compared the relevant laws in Virginia to those in other states. With regard to recusal requirements, no state currently requires a regulatory board member to recuse or otherwise disqualify himself based on being employed by the same pharmacy as the subject of a complaint. The Code of Virginia § 54.1-110.B includes the general requirement for a member of any of the Boards within the Department of Health Professions to disqualify himself and “withdraw from any case in which he cannot accord fair and impartial consideration." With regard to reporting substance abuse or mental health problems, current State law in Code of Virginia § 54.1-2400.8 already allows any person to report to the Board of Pharmacy or Department of Health Professions on any health care practitioner regarding unprofessional conduct or competency with immunity “unless such person acted in bad faith or with malicious intent."
Several policy options were presented for JCHC-member consideration. The option, to provide a written report to the Chairman of the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions without making any recommendation or taking any other action, was approved.
On behalf of the Joint Commission, I would like to thank the individuals and organizations who assisted in this study including the Virginia Department of Health Professions, the Board of Pharmacy, and the Virginia Pharmacy Association.
Kim Snead Executive Director May 2012
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