Rep. Tyler Sirois Urges Full Legislative Support of Test and Treat Legislation to Combat Spread of Flu
By Space Coast Daily // January 22, 2020
REPRESENTATIVES SIROIS AND PIGMAN URGE FULL LEGISLATIVE SUPPORT OF TEST AND TREAT LEGISLATION
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Representatives Tyler Sirois (R-Merritt Island) and Cary Pigman (R-Avon Park) joined pharmacists and other health care professionals on Wednesday to urge both chambers of the legislature to support and pass legislation that would allow for Floridians to be tested and treated for influenza and streptococcus at their local pharmacy.
HB 389, which passed its second committee of reference last week in the House, authorizes a licensed pharmacist to enter into a written protocol agreement with a supervising physician for the testing for and treatment of influenza and streptococcus.
The bill also requires a pharmacist to use an FDA approved testing device and have 8 additional hours of continuing education and maintain $200,000 of liability insurance.
“You cannot go to a national news site without one horror story after another popping up about a teen or a young child dying from the flu,” said Sirois.
“And the circumstance varies from ‘they did not get the flu shot’ or ‘they sought medical attention days later’ or ‘they just did not get treated.’ So, while the debate rages on, year after year, about whose territory this is and what special interests are for and against this – children and people of all ages are dying from the flu.”
Sirois said that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared to younger adults, older adults have a higher prevalence of chronic medical conditions, increasing the risk of flu-related complications.
“One research example has shown that diabetes and influenza infection can actually: triple the risk of hospitalization, quadruple the risk of admission to the intensive care unit after hospitalization, and double the risk of death,” said Sirois.
“Should we not do all we can to create more access points to testing and treating the flu and strep? I ask my colleagues in the House and the Senate to focus on the impact this legislation will have on saving lives and not on the argument that this is doctors versus pharmacists or an expansion of scope – it’s human issue and a life-saving issue,” said Sirois.
Pigman is an ER doctor and said he knows first hand the impact a busy flu season has on urgent care centers and ER.
“I have seen people fill the ER waiting rooms, suffering from the flu or strep, waiting up to three hours to be seen and given Tamiflu, all while likely spreading these highly contagious illnesses,” said Pigman
“If my legislative colleagues pass this legislation, patients could walk into their local pharmacy, be tested quickly and safely and leave with an antiviral medication, which can lessen the effects and overall period of these illnesses.”
HB 389 requires record maintenance and confidentiality in accordance with state law and requires the Board of Pharmacy to adopt specific rules pertaining to the category of patients, instructions, the process and schedule.
The bill requires the pharmacist to notify the patient’s primary care provider within two business days, if they have one, as well as notify the protocol supervising physician of any action taken.
HB 389 is now in a posture to be taken up by its last committee of reference in the Florida House, the Health & Human Services Committee.
Senator Travis Hutson has filed Senate Bill 714, an identical bill that has been referred to the Health Policy, Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, and Appropriations in the Florida Senate.