To: Hospital Pharmacy Leaders, Rural CEOs, and Government Relations Staff
From: David Streeter, MPA, Policy Director- Clinical and Data| DavidS@wsha.org |(206) 216-2508
Subject: New PQAC and L&I COVID-19 Safety Guidance
The purpose of this bulletin is to inform hospitals about the new COVID-19 safety guidance for pharmacies issued by Washington State’s Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission (PQAC) and Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). The guidance serves as a reminder for pharmacies and pharmacists to follow key safety measures to ensure safety for patients and pharmacy staff. WSHA weighed in heavily in this guidance and urged PQAC to align with other regulatory agencies as it finalized the document.
The guidance applies to all pharmacies and pharmacists licensed by PQAC, including hospital-based pharmacies. The guidance document states, “This guidance is not intended to duplicate efforts in promoting infection prevention practices, but rather to supplement that work with a reminder of available resources, updated best practices, and compliance expectations.”
Pharmacists and pharmacy leaders should review the guidance as well as the applicable orders, regulations, and resources cited in the guidance document. The guidance document advises licensees to “direct questions regarding their compliance to an attorney or other qualified professional.”
The guidance document issued by PQAC and L&I reminds licensees to continue following Governor’s Proclamation 20-24.2, L&I’s respirator and personal protective equipment (PPE) practices, and OSHA PPE and respirator practices for health care delivery. To supplement these items, the document specifies six key safety measures:
- Maintain social distancing and disinfect vaccine and treatment areas between patients.
- Develop screening protocols for patients that follow the most current guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Washington State’s Department of Health.
- Ensure proper source controls and protections. This includes following standard and droplet precautions and adhering to additional PPE recommendations.
- Require patients and pharmacy staff to continue wearing masks and other PPE as recommended.
- Establish vaccination operations in accordance with CDC guidance and Governor’s Proclamation 20-24.2.
- Train all staff on COVID-19 procedures and infection control procedures.
PQAC and L&I began working on their joint guidance document in late 2020. In February 2021, WSHA provided feedback on the proposed guidance when PQAC circulated it for public comment. We are pleased to see that many of our recommendations are included in the final document that was released on April 6, 2021. If you have feedback on the guidance document, please contact David Streeter so WSHA can share the information with PQAC.