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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources


Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare providers in the U.S. and are on the front lines of the current coronavirus disease 2019-2020 outbreak. The Ohio Pharmacists Association is working with state leaders and closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19 from both the Centers for Disease Control and Ohio Department of Health. We will update this resource page as new resources and news becomes available.

As patients are asking questions regarding COVID-19 symptoms, use this guide to help you differentiate between COVID-19, seasonal flu, a cold and seasonal allergies. 

Help OPA Promote the Importance of Pharmacist Care During this Pandemic

As pharmacists are on the front lines working to help contain the pandemic, providing patient care, and ease the concerns and fears of the general public. Ohio Pharmacists Association created a short survey to help tell your story. Please fill out this survey to help OPA share the amazing work you are doing to the general public, other organizations and social media.

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This interactive map is adopted from “Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering”.


Ohio Department of Health               Ohio Department of Insurance

Board of Health & Executive Orders                    State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy

Resources                                         Media


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Ohio Department of Health

The Ohio Department of Health opened a call center to answer questions from the public regarding coronavirus (COVID-19). The call center will be open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and resources visit coronavirus.ohio.gov. (Updated daily at 2 p.m. regarding the most current cases in Ohio.)

The Ohio Department of Health has many resources and guidance documents to help healthcare providers care for the ill and mitigate their own risk. Read the guidance documents here.

The Ohio Department of Health has provided a COVID-19 Checklist for pharmacists of the top 10 things pharmacists can do to prepare for COVID-19.

Ohio Department of Insurance

NEW On March 20, 2020, the Ohio Department of Insurance temporarily suspended pharmacy audits during this state of emergency. 

NEW On March 20, 2020, the Ohio Department of Insurance issued an order for payment grace period of health insurance premium payments for two months. This would ensure that an employees can still be covered by their plan even if the employer is not able to pay their premium payments. 

Public Health and Executive orders signed by the Governor and Health Director in response to COVID-19

Governor DeWine Executive Orders
  • On March 19, 2020, Executive Order 2020-05D was signed expanding access to telemedicine for Medicaid population. Read the executive order here
  • On March 17, 2020, Executive Order 2020-04D was signed allowing temporary child care facilities for healthcare employees. Read the executive order here
  • On March 13, 2020, Executive Order 2020-02D was signed easing the teacher/student ratio currently required for day cares and preschools. Read the executive order here.
  • On March 9, 2020, Executive Order 2020-01D declared a State of Emergency in Ohio. Read the press release here.
Ohio Department of Health
  • NEW On March 22, 2020, Ohio will be under a "stay-at-home" order effective at 11:59pm on March 23, 2020. Read the order here
  • On March 21, 2020, the Ohio Department of Transportation announced it will waive overnight vehicle fees for vehicles involved in transporting essential goods such as groceries and medical equipment. The update can be accessed here
  • On March 21, 2020, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensations announced it will delay premium payments for March, April, and May until at least June 1, 2020. The update can be accessed here. Additional information can be accessed here
  • On March 21, 2020, Ohio limits all adult day support and vocational behavioral services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to no more than 10 people. Read the press release here
  • On March 15, 2020, Ohio limits food, alcohol sales to carry out and delivery only. Read the press release here.
  • On March 14, 2020, Ohio Department of Health released an updated guidance for resource management. Read the details here.
  • On March 14, 2020, Governor DeWine orders the closure of all K-12 schools in the State of Ohio starting at the conclusion of the school day on March 16 through April 3. Read the press release here.
  • On March 14, 2020, Ohio mandates health screening for admission to state operated psychiatric hospitals or to Department of Youth Services Facilities. Read the ODH Director’s order here.
  • On March 12, 2020, Ohio bans mass gathering of 100* or more. Read the press release here
    • The ban number for mass gatherings in Ohio has been reduced to 50 as of March 16.

State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy

The Board has provided guidance on their response to the COVID-19. The guidance document can be found here, and more information is provided below.

Emergency Rules

NEW On March 22, 2020, the Governor authorized emergency rule 4729-5-30.2, prescription requirements for chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine. This rule effective and enforceable. This rules states:

  • Unless otherwise approved by the Board, no prescription for chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine may be dispensed by a pharmacist or sold at retail by a licensed terminal distributor of dangerous drugs unless all the following apply:
    • The prescription bears a written diagnosis code from the prescriber; and
    • If written for a COVID-19 diagnosis, the diagnosis has been confirmed by a positive test result, which is documented on the prescription and both of the following apply:
      • The prescription is limited to no more than a fourteen-day supply; and
      • No refills may be permitted unless a new prescription is furnished.
  • Prescriptions for either presumptive positive patients or prophylactic use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine related to COVID-19 is strictly prohibited unless otherwise approved by the board’s executive director in consultation with the board president, at which time a resolution shall issue.

COVID-19 Mandatory Safety Requirements

On March 18, 2020, the Board issued mandatory requirements for pharmacies to implement safeguards to ensure pharmacy professionals practice in a safe and effective manner. The guidance can be accessed here. These safeguards include:

  • for pharmacies open to the public, consider developing a process for adults 60+, pregnant women, and individuals with chronic health conditions to pick up medication without waiting in line;
  • implement infection control procedures, especially for waiting areas; and
    • Pharmacies with workspaces that currently allow patients to get closer than the minimum recommended distance of 3 feet should post signage or utilize other methods to ensure patients who are waiting maintain a safe distance. Note: This does not apply to patients who must interact with pharmacy staff (i.e., for purpose of payment, immunizations, etc.) or pharmacies that are not open to the public. 
    • Pharmacists and pharmacy interns are no longer permitted to administer immunizations or other injections without standard protective measures. Standard protective measures do not include the use of a mask and gown.
    • Pharmacists and pharmacy interns shall not administer any immunizations or other injections to patients displaying or reporting symptoms of respiratory illness, including fever, cough or shortness of breath. Note: You are not mandated to check temperature before administration of vaccines or other injections. 
  • monitor pharmacy staff for symptoms of respiratory illness. Note: This does not require mandatory temperature checks, but the Ohio Department of Health recommends pharmacies take staff temperatures once per shift.

While we appreciate the Board of Pharmacy's quick action to protect pharmacy staff and patients, you all are instrumental in making sure that pharmacies comply with these requirements. If you feel that your pharmacy is not taking adequate measures to maintain safe distancing between staff and and patients, provide for a clean practice setting, or provide reasonable amounts of protective equipment (recognizing the shortage of PPE), please keep us informed, and let the board of pharmacy know as well. 

We have heard from a number of pharmacists that they are documenting safety concerns and sending formal questions, issues, and complaints to managers and leaders at their pharmacies, but instead of receiving a written response, pharmacists are instead receiving phone call responses. Pharmacists have stated that they believe that a lack of written responses are being done as a means to possibly avoid the accountability that documentation provides. We have been advised by the board of pharmacy that if you feel that something nefarious is occurring in this regard, you should file a complaint.

A reminder to all pharmacists: it is your license, and if you feel that someone is unreasonably getting in the way of the safe practice of pharmacy, it is important to speak out. We will be working to make sure your voices are heard.

COVID-19 Waivers and Guidance for Licensees 
  • NEW On March 24, 2020, the Board authorized the sale and shipment of non-reportable dangerous drugs that are in shortage by unlicensed, out-of-state facilities. This guidance can be accessed here
  • NEW On March 24, 2020, the Board authorized expedited licensure of drug distributors. This guide can be accessed here
  • NEW On March 24, 2020, the Board authorized an extension of drug distributor due diligence requirements pursuant to paragraph (G) of rule 4729:6-3-05 of the Administrative Code. The guidance can be accessed here.
  • On March 20, 2020, the Board authorized registered pharmacy technicians to stock automated drug storage systems and send and receive copies of non-controlled prescriptions, under certain conditions. Additional clarification is provided on the positive identification requirements for technicians transferring prescriptions can be accessed here
  • On March 20, 2020, the Board authorized licensees to perform sterile compounding for another licensee, referred to as central compounding. The guidance can be accessed here.  
  • On March 18, 2020, the Board authorized the temporary expansion of the maximum days' supply from 31 days to 60 days for prescriptions dispense to patients. The guidance can be accessed here
  • On March 18, 2020, the Board authorized prescribers to delegate personally furnished non-controlled drug samples to nurses. The guidance can be accessed here
  • On March 18, 2020, the Board authorized an extension of basic life-support training certification for pharmacists and pharmacy interns if their certification is set to expire on or after March 1, 2020. The recertification must be obtained no later than July 16, 2020. The guidance can be accessed here.
  • On March 18, 2020, the Board authorized home delivery of medication by opioid treatment programs under specific conditions. The guidance can be accessed here
  • On March 18, 2020, the Board authorized prescribers working in an opioid treatment program licensed as a terminal distributor of dangerous drugs to temporarily delegate personally furnishing of buprenorphine products to a nurse. The guidance can be accessed here
  • On March 16, 2020, the Board extended the renewal date for registered pharmacy technician by 120 days and automatic trainee extensions. The guidance can be accessed here.  
  • On March 16, 2020, the Board authorized expedited onboarding of pharmacy technician trainees. The guidance can be assessed here
  • On March 16, 2020, the Board authorized pharmacists and pharmacy technicians licensed in other states to work in Ohio pharmacies under certain condition. The guidance can be assessed here
  • On March 16, 2020, the Board authorized the extension of emergency refills. The guidance can be assessed here. This extends:
    • the emergency refill of schedule III-V controlled substances to not exceed a 30-day supply or the days' supply indicated on the pharmacy's records (as opposed to a 72-hour supply);
    • permits a pharmacist to authorize emergency refills for a particular drug up-to-three times in any twelve-month period (this applies to both schedule III-V controlled and non-controlled substances); and
    • in lieu of three 30-day emergency refills, a pharmacist may dispense a one-time emergency refills of a 90-day supply for a particular non-controlled substance medication. 
  • On March 16, 2020, the Board authorized exemption to rule authorizing the compounding of drugs in shortage and expanded the definition of drug shortage. The guidance can be accessed here
  • On March 14, 2020, the Board authorized compounding and sale of certain alcohol-based hand sanitizer products by Ohio-licensed pharmacies and outsourcing facilities. The guidance can be assessed here.
  • On March 14, 2020, the Board authorized licensees conducting sterile compounding to reuse certain personal protective equipment (PPE). The guidance can be accessed here.
  • On March 13, 2020, the Board authorized the practice of remote order entry for all licensed/registered pharmacy personal. The guidance can be accessed here.
Important Reminders
  • Ohio law permits pharmacies to use couriers and other delivery services to deliver patient medications. Additionally, there are no rules or laws prohibiting the use of technicians, interns or support personnel to deliver medications to patients waiting in the store (e.g. curbside pickup). 
  • Ohio law permits pharmacies and other terminal distributors of dangerous drugs to provide services outside the pharmacy as long as they are on the physical premises of the licensed location (e.g. setting up temporary drive-thru to limit pharmacy personnel exposure, offering immunizations at another location in the store).
  • The Board of Pharmacy does not require signatures for picking up a prescription. For patient counseling, a verbal offer or providing an offer to counsel in writing is required under the patient counseling rule
  • Ohio law permits pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and certified technicians to administer CLIA-waived testing. Additional guidance will be provided by the Board as there is increased availability of testing. 
  • Ohio law authorizes a pharmacist who is filling or refilling a prescription that has one ore more refills to dispense the drug in a quantity or amount that varies from the quantity or amount that would otherwise be dispensed. Guidance can be accessed here
  • Ohio law authorizes a pharmacist to dispense medications without a prescription under certain condition as emergency refills. Guidance can be accessed here.
  • Ohio law authorizes one or more pharmacists practicing under a consult agreement. Guidance can be accessed here. Pharmacists can have a consult agreement with one or more physician to manage the following:
    • manage a patient’s drug therapy (including authorizing refills) for specific diagnoses or diseases; and
    • order and evaluate blood and urine tests.

Resources


Media

Corona Virus in Rural Ohio

Access Spectrum 1 News Article Here

Pharmacists get creative to make sure Ohioans get their prescriptions amid coronavirus

Access Columbus Dispatch Article Here

Twila Boyd: A Look At The COVID-19 Crisis From a Pharmacist's Perspective

Stu Beatty: Fix PBM problems so pharmacists can serve patients

Access Columbus Dispatch Article Here

COVID-19: We're All in This Together Ohio

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