Ohio House Bill 394

Advocacy PillarThe Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics is expressing concern over a bill that would allow pharmacists and pharmacy interns in Ohio to administer immunizations in certain circumstances. Lawmakers voted to approve House Bill 394 on Wednesday, April 2, 2014.

Ohio AAP Executive Director Melissa Wervey Arnold sent a letter to the members of the House of Representatives expressing concern on behalf of the members of the Ohio AAP.

Wervey Arnold said Ohio and other states have been promoting the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model, which addresses a patient’s health and wellness needs through a collaborative, team-based approach.

“House Bill 394 contradicts this trend and could lead to fewer Ohio children receiving much needed comprehensive primary care services,” wrote Wervey Arnold.

“In the medical home model, immunizations are coupled with screenings and other services that are delivered by a pediatrician; allowing pharmacists to administer vaccines outside of the medical home creates seams in a system we are striving to make seamless. Outcomes are improved when primary care is delivered in a coordinated, physician-led environment.”

Wervey Arnold pointed out Ohio’s immunization rates among children seven years of age and older are on the rise thanks in part to evidence-based strategies and recent policy changes requiring certain vaccines be administered.

“Any discussion on increasing Ohio’s vaccine rates should start by focusing strategies on kids who are eligible for Medicaid or the Vaccines for Children program,” she wrote. “Without any safeguards, pharmacists will be able to target only those kids with private insurance, many of whom already have a primary care physician. HB 394 threatens the progress we’ve made on Ohio vaccine rates and could lead to those rates actually declining.”

House Bill 394 now heads to the Ohio Senate for hearings.

To read Ohio AAP Executive Director Melissa Wervey Arnold’s letter to the members of the Ohio House of representatives, click here.