HBA-MPM C.S.S.B. 65 77(R)    HBA-MPM C.S.S.B. 65 77(R)    

Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.S.B. 65
By: Moncrief
Public Health
Committee Report (Substituted)


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.  C.S.S.B. 65
authorizes the establishment of telepharmacies in areas where there is not
a pharmacy.  


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 562.110, Occupations Code) and SECTION 2 of this bill. 


C.S.S.B. 65 amends the Occupations Code to authorize a community or
institutional pharmacy (pharmacy) located in this state to provide pharmacy
services, including the dispensing of drugs through a telepharmacy system
in a facility 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. The bill requires a pharmacist to supervise a telepharmacy
system electronically by audio and video communication.  A telepharmacy
system is authorized to be located only at a health care facility in this
state that is regulated by this state or the United States.  

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 pharmacy is located as determined by board rule.  If a pharmacy
is established in a community in which a telepharmacy system is already
located, the telepharmacy system may continue to operate in the community. 


September 1, 2001.


C.S.S.B. 65 differs from the original by clarifying that the dispensing of
drugs through a telepharmacy system is authorized.  The bill modifies the
definition of "telepharmacy system."