State liability protection extended to volunteer pharmacists
Gov. Jim Doyle has signed into law a bill that that gives pharmacists who volunteer their time the same liability protection that doctors and nurses have.
Sen. Judy Robson, D-Beloit, authored the bill after retired Janesville pharmacist Mike Dow brought the issue to her attention.
Robson said the bill would protect workers who donate their time at free clinics such as Janesville’s HealthNet, where Dow volunteers 500 hours a year, has been a board member since 2004 and is serving his second term as board president.
The law adds pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to the list of volunteer health-care providers who are considered agents of the Department of Health and Family Services when they volunteer at clinics that care for the uninsured. As agents, they are covered by the liability protection of the state.
Those who want to become agents of the state must apply for the designation jointly with the nonprofit health care agency for which they are volunteering.
The Volunteer Health Care Provider Program began in 1989 and at first applied only to physicians. It expanded over the years to cover physician assistants, registered nurses, practical nurses, nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, dentists, dental assistants, optometrists and certified dieticians, Robson said.
Dow, a recipient of the UW School of Pharmacy Citation of Merit, has worked hard to promote and elevate the pharmacy profession by serving 10 years on the boards of the Wisconsin Pharmacists Association and the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin.