Rep. Tyler Sirois Among Lawmakers Announcing Legislation for Health Care Access
By Space Coast Daily // February 22, 2019
legislation Authorizes Pharmacists to Test, Treat Influenza and Streptococcus
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Representative Rene Plasencia (R- Orlando), Representative Tyler Sirois (R- Cocoa) and Senator Jeff Brandes (R- St. Petersburg) announced legislation that authorizes pharmacists in the State of Florida to test and treat Influenza and Streptococcus.
House Bill 111, by Representatives Plasencia and Sirois, has been filed in the Florida House, which will allow pharmacists to provide point-of-care testing and treatment for Influenza and Streptococcus.
A similar bill has been filed in the Florida Senate, Senate Bill 300, by Brandes.
“As a teacher and a coach, I understand the need to increase Floridians’ access to care by allowing point-of-care testing and treatment for Influenza and Strep,” said Plasencia.
“That is why I have filed HB 111 to allow pharmacists to perform a simple swab test that provides results within 15 minutes or less. Pharmacists can already perform much more complicated procedures; and, this good public policy simply allows Floridians to get diagnosed and treated for two illnesses that can rapidly spread if not quickly addressed.”
“When I learned of the opportunity to allow pharmacists the ability to test and treat for two major illnesses, especially when 86 percent of the population live within five miles of a pharmacy and many open 24-hours, I jumped at the opportunity to work with Representative Plasencia on HB 111,” said Sirois.
“A father of two, I know first-hand how quickly the flu and strep can come on. By having another access point to be diagnosed and treated, Floridians can shorten the duration and severity of these illnesses.”
“Eighty thousand people died and hundreds of thousands were hospitalized because of influenza last winter in the U.S.,” said Brandes.
“This legislation is a no-brainer. With advancements in technology in the medical field, comes the time to advance the way services are provided to Florida patients. It is time that we allow pharmacists – with the notification of the patient’s primary care physician – to test and treat Floridians for the flu, as well as strep. Both are very contagious illnesses that could be stopped faster if we increase the access points for diagnosis and treatment.”
Currently, there are 15 states that allow for point-of-care testing and treatment for certain illnesses, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Kentucky, Virginia, South Carolina and New Hampshire.
In addition, there are eleven other states in the implementation phase or are considering allowing pharmacists to provide these services.
Representative Cary Pigman (R-Avon Park), who is an emergency medicine physician, provided an on-site demonstration of a rapid flu test at the press conference held in the Florida Capitol.
HB 111 has three committees of reference, including the House Health Quality Subcommittee, House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee and House Health and Human Services Committee. SB 300 also has three committees of reference, including the Senate Health Policy Committee, Senate Appropriations Committee and Senate Rules Committee.