Pharmacist Prescribing of Birth Control in Oregon Off To A Great Start!

Fellow Pharmacists—

This is an absolutely historic time for the profession of pharmacy.  The invaluable service pharmacists are able to provide through our newly granted prescriptive authority is already showing tremendous potential to positively impact the patients and communities we serve.  The concept is gaining traction in other therapeutic areas as well, with a bill allowing pharmacists to prescribe the opioid antagonist naloxone currently working its way through the legislative process.  Time will tell, but we may have only scratched the surface on this model.

OSPA has worked diligently to get the word out as pharmacist prescribing has very quickly gone from taxiing down the runway to taking flight.  But we’re not at cruising altitude just yet…many pharmacists in our state are still working towards completing the training or waiting on their employer to determine internal procedures.  The resources and links on the OSPA website cover everything from medical billing to where to get the training.  Please share this message with your colleagues, and please feel free to contact OSPA if you need additional information.  Our birth control prescribing resource page can be found here.

If you’re not already a member, I hope you’ll consider joining OSPA.  Initiatives like this one are incredibly important to our profession, and we need you and your colleagues as members of the association so that we can continue our efforts.  The membership form is online, and can be found here.

Below is an update from Paige Clark, RPh, one of the many champions of this initiative in the State of Oregon:

As the OSU College of Pharmacy administrative lead in development and execution of the requested online CE (certification) program to enable pharmacists to prescribe hormonal birth control therapies in Oregon, the Oregon CCO Directors asked that I come and speak about implementation and provide a status update regarding the certification process for pharmacists who wish to prescribe.

The meeting on Thursday, January 28, went very well and provided the CCOs and Payers with an update and background on the steps that lead up to implementation and the roll out  statewide among pharmacies.    The OHA billing experts spoke about the medical billing pathway built by the state to enable pharmacists to be reimbursed at the exact rate and in the same manner as any prescriber in Oregon (physician, PA, etc.).    Because Oregon passed the Provider Status bill in conjunction with the BC Prescribing law, we are in the correct position to prescribe hormonal therapies (oral and patches as called out by the legislation) to patients in Oregon.  Payers and CCOs have credentialing processes that are benefiting in clarity from pharmacist certification, occurring from the course built by the college.

Many pharmacy chains and independent pharmacies have begun sending pharmacists through the certification program.   At this moment, over 200 pharmacists are already certified to prescribe under this law, by taking the certification course.  It appears that between 800 and 1000 will be certified by early spring.  Each pharmacist must change their taxonomy relating to their NPI number and the Oregon State Pharmacists Association website contains the necessary directions and steps for pharmacists/pharmacies to complete.  There are resources and directions readily available on the OSPA website to assist in moving forward with billing processes.  The Oregon Board of Pharmacy website serves as a complete resource for professional guidance.

Additionally, the college was asked to create and provide a searchable, password protected, database for payers to confirm which pharmacists have completed the certification course in correlation with their NPI numbers and several other pertinent data points to facilitate the billing/credentialing processes.  The site was launched last week and the link was provided to the payers and CCOs at today’s meeting.

There is a formal research project being designed by the Oregon Health Authority and OSU College of Pharmacy to determine outcomes for this, the first pharmacist prescribing endeavor for our profession.   Those pharmacists who are certified will be asked if they will participate in the study on behalf of the state.   Look for contact with Oregon State University faculty, Dr. Lorinda Anderson.   Nationally, we anticipate requests for outcomes data and study results.  Based on the positive response, the initial launch data and anecdotal input, it appears that pharmacists in Oregon are  very successfully implementing this new endeavor and serving the needs of patients as directed by the Oregon State Legislature.  

Congratulations to everyone who has worked exceptionally hard to meet the direction given by the legislature in implementing this groundbreaking expansion in the scope of practice for pharmacists in Oregon.  In seven months, with the cooperation and work of many, this new program to serve the citizens of Oregon is up and running successfully.

Again, your influence and your voice as a pharmacist are incredibly important to us.  Please contact OSPA with your questions, comments and concerns, and myself or one of our board members will be happy to engage with you.


Joshua Free, PharmD, MBA
Oregon State Pharmacy Association

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