Republican Representatives Tyler Sirois and Rene Plasencia have announced legislation to increase patient access to healthcare.
The two reps announced today the legislation that would authorize pharmacists in the State of Florida to test and treat Streptococcus and Influenza.
Commenting on the effort, Plasencia explained that “as a teacher and a coach, I understand the need to increase Floridians’ access to care by allowing point-of-care testing and treatment for Influenza and Strep.”
“That is why I have filed HB 111 to allow pharmacists to perform a simple swab test that provides results within 15 minutes or less,” said Placencia, adding that “Pharmacists can already perform much more complicated procedurs; and, this good public policy simply allows Floridians to get diagnosed and treated for two illnesses that can rapidly spread if not quickly addressed.”
Rep. Sirois added that “when I learned of the opportunity to allow pharmacists the ability to test and treat for two major illnesses, especially when 86 percent of the population live within five miles of a pharmacy and many open 24-hours, I jumped at the opportunity to work with Representative Plasencia on HB111.”
Sirois further detailed that “a father of two, I know first-hand how quickly the flu and strep can come on. By having another access point to be diagnosed and treated, Floridians can shorten the duration and severity of these illnesses.”
A similar bill has also been filed in the Florida Senate, called Senate Bill 300.
And, Senator Jeff Brandes weighed in on the matter, saying that “eighty thousand people died and hundreds of thousands were hospitalized because of Influenza last winter in the U.S.”
This legislation is a no-brainer. With advancements in technology in the medical field, comes the time to advance the way services are provided to Florida patients. It is time we allow pharmacists – with the notification of the patient’s primary care physician – to test and treat Floridians for the flu, as well as strep. Both are very contagious illnesses that could be stopped faster if we increase the access points for diagnosis and treatment.”-Rep. Jeff Brandes
A press conference was held in the Florida Capitol, and Rep. Cary Pigman, a Republican representing Avon Park, who is an emergency medicine physician, provided a demonstration of what a rapid flu test looks like.