Thomas R. Clark, RPh,MHS,BCGP
Senior Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs
Board of Pharmacy Specialties
The Board of Pharmacy Specialties functions at the intersection of two broad domains: pharmacy and credentialing. To protect the interests of pharmacists who hold Board certification, BPS monitors legislative and regulatory activity and engages stakeholders when appropriate.
In recent years, bipartisan concern has been expressed about the adverse impact of occupational licensing laws and the need for reform of these laws. The number of workers who need a license to perform work has increased from about 5% in the 1950s to about 25% today. The requirements associated with a license:
- Decrease worker mobility in moving from state to state
- Decrease the ability of those with criminal convictions to find jobs
- Increase the costs and time required to qualify for jobs, especially at the lower income levels
The movement to reform occupational licensing laws is well-intended and has often been beneficial, but it can also have unintended adverse effects on certification organizations like the Board of Pharmacy Specialties and pharmacists with BPS certification. The laws sometimes confuse licensure with certification. BPS has joined with other certification organizations to form a coalition, the Professional Certification Coalition, to educate state lawmakers and other stakeholders to help prevent adverse consequences to certification organizations.
BPS also monitors pharmacy practice legislation and regulations for potential impact (positive or negative) on pharmacists who hold a certification from the Board of Pharmacy Specialties. Any pharmacist with knowledge of a proposed bill or regulation of concern is invited to contact BPS to make sure we have this on our radar screen.
Three states currently grant some amount of continuing education credit for BPS certification:
- The Ohio Board of Pharmacy recognizes BPS certification as an alternative way to demonstrate continuing competency, and pharmacists with BPS certification are deemed to have met the requirement for 40 credit hours of continuing education per license renewal period. BPS pharmacists in Ohio must still obtain a minimum of two hours in medication errors/patient safety and two hours in jurisprudence or law.
- In Texas, pharmacists who successfully pass an initial Board of Pharmacy Specialties examination in any specialty are qualified to receive 3 (three) contact hours (0.3 CEU) of continuing education credit towards the 30 (thirty) contact hours required for pharmacist license renewal, during the renewal period in which the examination is taken. [see subsection e.12]
- In Arkansas, pharmacists who successfully pass an initial Board of Pharmacy Specialties examination in any specialty may submit a copy of their BPS certificate to the Arkansas Board of Pharmacy in fulfillment of continuing education requirements for the biennial license renewal period in which the examination is taken. This is subject to approval by the Arkansas Tripartite Committee on Continuing Pharmacy Education. (See subsection 0003 g.)
- In addition to the above, Nebraska and Michigan have proposed regulations that include recognition of BPS Board certification related to continuing education requirements.
We encourage BPS pharmacists to keep contact information updated through the MyBPS portal. Please include your state pharmacist license number in MyBPS if you are licensed in Ohio. BPS collaborates with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to avoid the need to audit BPS pharmacists in Ohio for proof of meeting the required minimum number of CE hours for license renewal.
In addition to the CE recognition, at least 13 states recognize BPS Board certification as one of the eligibility pathways for advanced practice, collaborative drug therapy management, or approval of collaborative practice agreements. BPS continues to monitor and engage states for ways to enhance the value of BPS Board certification. We encourage input from BPS pharmacists as we continue our efforts to strengthen BPS Board certification.