A credential from the Board of Pharmacy Specialties is known to demonstrate that the pharmacist has knowledge and expertise in a particular branch of pharmacy practice. While the work of BPS in developing new credentials and in supporting and maintaining existing credentials is highly visible, much work also goes on behind the scenes to protect BPS credentials and enhance the value of the credentials for those who hold them.
Part of the work of BPS involves regular monitoring of state legislation and proposed regulations from Boards of Pharmacy. One goal is to identify any proposed legislation or regulations that might potentially have an adverse impact on BPS board certification or those who hold BPS certification, so that efforts to educate and intervene can happen in a timely manner. Another goal is to identify opportunities to support or promote BPS certification.
BPS pharmacists licensed in Ohio are aware that Ohio recognizes BPS certification as an alternative pathway to continuing competency (Ohio CE Reporting Requirements ). The Ohio Board of Pharmacy waives the requirement to obtain 40 credit hours of continuing education per biennial license cycle for pharmacists with BPS certification. BPS pharmacists must still obtain the required credits in jurisprudence and medication errors/patient safety.
In July 2018, Nebraska proposed a similar provision for BPS pharmacists licensed in Nebraska. A public hearing was held on August 28, 2018 for a comprehensive package of regulatory changes that included this provision. BPS sent a letter to the Nebraska Board of Pharmacy in support of the BPS provision in this proposed regulation. BPS pharmacists licensed in multiple states would find it especially helpful if more Boards would recognize BPS certification as an alternative way to demonstrate continuing competency.
Some BPS pharmacists have asked whether Boards of Pharmacy are likely to adopt requirements that pharmacists have board certification to perform certain functions such as prescribing medication. An interesting evolution is taking place in the regulatory landscape at present, and Boards of Pharmacy are part of this evolution. A change in philosophy from prescriptive rule-based regulation to a standard of care approach is now happening. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy adopted a resolution at the May 2018 Annual Meeting to appoint an interdisciplinary task force to explore considerations for pharmacy boards to make this transition and develop tools to assist in the process.
The trend is now moving away from specific rules related to structures and processes, except where a direct connection can be made to protecting public health. The focus instead will be on outcomes and quality, expecting pharmacists to know standards of care and perform at that level rather than Boards putting standards of care into regulations.
The Oregon Board of Pharmacy, for example, finalized regulations on General Responsibilities of a Pharmacist in October 2018. The language in this regulation is fairly brief and broad rather than being detailed and specific.
BPS continues to explore ways to protect BPS credentials and enhance the value these credentials have for those who hold them.
Thomas R. Clark, RPh, MHS, BCGP