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Thursday's letters: Pharmacy bill puts patient safety at risk

Pharmacy technicians

Legislation puts patients at risk

The health and safety of Floridians are at risk if the Legislature approves language, drafted by the chain drug industry, to increase the ratio of pharmacy technicians to the supervising pharmacist from a maximum of 3-to-1 to 6-to-1 with reduced oversight by the Florida Board of Pharmacy.

Raising this ratio raises a number of risks.

• Patient safety: The risk of medication errors will be increased when supervising pharmacists must divide their attention among a larger pool of supportive personnel.

• Patient counseling: There may be less time for pharmacists to be involved in collaborative drug therapy management, patient education and counseling patients on the proper administration of their medications.

• Education and training of the pharmacy technician: An individual must complete a minimum of 160 hours of education and training from a program approved by the Florida Board of Pharmacy to become a registered pharmacy technician.

There are states that have ratios greater than 3-to-1, or no ratios at all. In a majority of these cases, the states may employ one or more of the following: higher entry education requirements, a structured internship, passage of a state exam, national certification, and increased continuing education requirements. House Bill 671/Senate Bill 818 does not increase the entry requirements or the criteria to initiate or maintain pharmacy technician registration in Florida.

Raising the ratio without upgrading the education and training requirements for the pharmacy technician raises the risk of a supervising pharmacist having an increased number of minimally trained individuals in the prescription department.

As a Florida licensed pharmacist and former professional pharmacy association executive, I call upon patients, caregivers and my health profession colleagues to oppose this legislation.

Mike McQuone, Tallahassee

To fight sex crimes, fix military justice April 13, editorial

False reports plague system

This editorial described Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin's actions in voiding a court-martial conviction for rape and decried the process that allowed it to happen. Perhaps you should apprise yourself of the facts before doing so.

In a letter to the secretary of the Air Force, Franklin set out his reasons for his decision. The principal ones centered on the fact that there were many discrepancies in the accuser's story. Her allegations just did not stand up to scrutiny. Franklin concluded, "I hold a genuine and reasonable doubt that (the accused) committed the crime of sexual assault."

Rapes do occur, and must be dealt with. However, attorneys including women with whom I have worked with direct experience prosecuting military rape claims have stated that many of the rape claims they have had to prosecute fall apart: 1) because the accuser was trying to cover up a pregnancy that occurred when her husband or significant other was deployed; 2) because of a fight or breakup with a boyfriend; or 3) because of an attempt to escape punishment for an accuser's own infractions. Such false reports make it all the more difficult to prosecute the actual rapes that occur.

Proving a criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt is the burden of any prosecution, and review by the convening authority is the first step in the appeal process in the military justice system. That such a matter should go to the court-martial convening authority is entirely appropriate.

The military justice system does not need an overhaul because you or anyone else who is not in possession of the facts does not like the result.

Warren Dixon, Tampa

Healthy Families Florida

Work to prevent abuse

Kiwanians are community leaders and business professionals committed to changing the world, one child and one community at a time. Child abuse can have profound detrimental effects on children's development resulting in costly consequences for the individual, family and community, which is why we support Healthy Families Florida. This evidence-based home visiting program is proven to effectively prevent child abuse in high-risk families at a fraction of the cost of treating the consequences of abuse after it occurs.

We are pleased that the Legislature has maintained Healthy Families Florida funding at its current level of $18.1 million at this point in the budget process. However, we remain hopeful that if additional resources are available, the Legislature will bring this successful prevention program back to its 2009-10 funding level of $28.1 million, or increase the funding as much as possible so more communities and vulnerable families and their children are able to receive these vital services.

By preventing child abuse before it ever begins, we are building a strong foundation for a more prosperous future for our entire state.

Allen Whetsell, governor, Florida Kiwanis, Flagler Beach

Pier soon to be giant pile of debris April 16

Poor stewards

With all the debate about the St. Petersburg City Council's plans for a new pier, and dissenters talking about keeping the old one, we should examine just how the city is managing the parks and public spaces already under its control, Williams Park and Mirror Lake in particular.

These two parks are mere blocks from City Hall and they are both vile, dangerous and disgusting examples of city assets that the current stable of elected leaders cannot seem to manage in the least. Take a drive by either of these parks any day of the week and just look at what a mess they are. If you're feeling particularly reckless, get out of your car and walk the parks. Be careful, however, because if you do, the overwhelming odor of drugs and alcohol will knock you down. And watch where you step: the garbage, urine, drug paraphernalia and passed out partiers are everywhere.

These landmarks are embarrassing blights on our entire community, and they've only gotten worse over the years. No one in city leadership should be entrusted with building anything new until they demonstrate just a small glimmer of ability to care for the two parks sitting on their doorstep.

Matthew Weidner, St. Petersburg

Thursday's letters: Pharmacy bill puts patient safety at risk 04/17/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 5:56pm]
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