New Pennsylvania law to permit RPh-MD collaborations

September 15, 2010

Collaborative practice agreements between physicians and pharmacists will be a reality in Pennsylvania within the next couple of years.

Collaborative practice agreements between physicians and pharmacists will be a reality in Pennsylvania within the next couple of years.

Passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in early June, HB 1041, commonly known as Act 29, expands collaborative practice agreements to community-based practices and allows a physician's practice to employ a pharmacist on staff, if desired. "This is a significant advantage, particularly for some practices like oncology, where the potential for immediate medication expertise is critical and extremely cost-beneficial," Epple said.

The PPA worked with state representatives, the office of Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, and the Office of Health Care Reform to push the legislation through so that "all healthcare practitioners can practice to the fullest extent of their abilities, expanding access, improving quality, and containing costs," said Sherri Lee, RPh, president of the PPA.

While the state's pharmacists are happy about the passage of Act 29, they recognize that the law will not go into effect for another year or 2. "Passing any regulation takes about 2 years. Our process is very cumbersome," Epple said. However, if the regulations are not written within 2 years, pharmacists are allowed to enter into collaborative practice agreements under the terms of the act, she said.