Hutson on the right track with pharmacist test-and-treat proposals

This week the House Appropriations Committee approved House member Tyler Sirois‘ bill (HB-389) that will allow pharmacists to administer flu tests; something that, in Historic City News’ view, is way overdue.  St Augustine Republican Senator Travis Hutson is advancing a more limited proposal (SB-714) that would authorize licensed pharmacists, not just physicians, to offer flu testing and treatment to patients ranging from 18 to 75 years of age.

Urgent care centers and minute clinics with services provided by nurse practitioners and physician assistants have helped greatly reduce wait time and cost for the most common of medical conditions.  Bringing licensed pharmacists into the mix of para-physicians to preform basic tests and administer basic treatments is something we should all support.

As reported by Florida Politics, the “more broad language” being advanced in the House also includes possible pharmacist treatment for things like ringworm.

Hutson called licensed pharmacists a “front line in medical treatment” used in 17 other states, who offer a path much more convenient than one’s primary doctor or an emergency room.

The “simple swab” testing would be under physician supervision, Hutson said.

The testing machines are widely used and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, though questions remained in committee about their accuracy.

Hutson said the tests were 95% accurate, but some said that the tests can miss people who have the flu.

If the bill passes, the Board of Medicine must adopt rules and approve an eight-hour certification course for pharmacists (in conjunction with the Board of Pharmacy) wishing to offer flu tests.