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Florida Department of Health's Take Control Website

With a new opioid law in effect, Florida health officials are educating the public on some of the new changes through a new campaign.

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A legislative effort to allow pharmacists to issue flu tests to sick Floridians is on hold for now. It comes at a time when health officials say this year’s flu season is just as bad as the swine flu epidemic nearly a decade ago.

With hours left to go before Florida lawmakers are set to finish this year’s legislative session, a major healthcare proposal has been derailed in the Senate.

The move highlights the gulf between the House and Senate when it comes to how to manage trauma centers, telemedicine, pharmacists and nurses, and the Senate is not impressed with a massive healthcare "train" bill sent to it by the House.

Capital Report: 03-27-2014

Mar 27, 2014

On Wednesday the House Appropriations Committee signed off on a 75.3 billion dollar spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year. Thursday it was the Senate’s turn. That chamber’s appropriations committee has okayed a slightly smaller 74.9 billion dollar plan, but as Lynn Hatter reports, talks about higher education spending dominated the conversation.

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A bill allowing Florida pharmacists to oversee six times as many technicians is moving again in the Legislature after passing the full House last year. The Florida Pharmacy Association opposes the change because they say it could lead to more mistakes.

The bill passed the first of two scheduled House committees by a vote of 8-to-4 Wednesday. Rep. Joe Saunders (D-Orlando) says he voted no because he thinks patient safety could suffer for the sake of profit.

LHatter / WFSU News

The Florida Retail Federation is gearing up for the 2014 legislative session by throwing its support behind a series of proposed sales tax holidays and proposals to expand the duties of pharmacists.

Vice President Randy Miller says the group is behind a 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday pitched by Governor Rick Scott.

“This is the most wildly-popular holiday we encounter. People come out from all over, we bring people in from other states. It’s a great thing for citizens to be able to save on clothing and materials and supplies.”

A bill the House passed on Wednesday would increase the number of pharmacy technicians each pharmacist can supervise. Critics of the bill say it’s putting corporate profits ahead of patient safety.

Pharmacists are ultimately responsible for signing off on all medication orders, whether they personally fill them or a trained pharmacy technician fills them under their supervision. Currently, pharmacies can petition the State Board of Pharmacy to have each pharmacist supervise up to three technicians. But the bill would allow up to six techs per pharmacist without board approval.

While doctors write prescriptions, and pharmacists cross check medications, the job of filling those prescriptions often goes to pharmacy technicians.  Currently Florida allows 3 pharmacy technicians to work under every 1 pharmacist, but some lawmakers want to increase that ratio.

Seniors looking to be vaccinated for pneumonia and shingles can now get those treatments from their local pharmacist. Lynn Hatter reports Governor Rick Scott has approved a plan that enables pharmacies to administer the vaccines with a prescription.

Under the new law, Florida joins 45 other states that already allow pharmacists to administer shots for shingles and/or pneumonia.  Kevin Cate is the spokesman for Pharmacy Choice and Access Now.