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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 18. Professional And Occupational Licensing
Agency 110. Board of Pharmacy
Chapter 20. Regulations Governing the Practice of Pharmacy

18VAC110-20-555. Use of automated dispensing devices.

Nursing homes licensed pursuant to Chapter 5 (§ 32.1-123 et seq.) of Title 32.1 of the Code of Virginia may use automated drug dispensing systems, as defined in § 54.1-3401 of the Code of Virginia, upon meeting the following conditions:

1. Drugs placed in an automated drug dispensing system in a nursing home shall be under the control of the pharmacy providing services to the nursing home, the pharmacy shall have online communication with and control of the automated drug dispensing system, and access to any drug for a patient shall be controlled by the pharmacy.

2. A nursing home without an in-house pharmacy shall obtain a controlled substances registration prior to using an automated dispensing system, unless the system is exclusively stocked with drugs that would be kept in a stat-drug box pursuant to 18VAC110-20-550 or an emergency drug kit pursuant to 18VAC110-20-540 and are solely administered for stat or emergency administration.

3. For facilities not required to obtain a controlled substance registration, access to the automated dispensing device shall be restricted to a licensed nurse, pharmacist, or prescriber, or a registered pharmacy technician for the purpose of stocking or reloading.

4. Removal of drugs from any automated drug dispensing system for administration to patients can only be made pursuant to a valid prescription or lawful order of a prescriber under the following conditions:

a. A drug, including a drug that would be stocked in a stat-drug box pursuant to subsection B of 18VAC110-20-550, may not be administered to a patient from an automated dispensing device until a pharmacist has reviewed the prescription order and electronically authorized the access of that drug for that particular patient in accordance with the order.

b. The PIC of the provider pharmacy shall ensure that a pharmacist who has online access to the system is available at all times to review a prescription order as needed and authorize administering pursuant to the order reviewed.

c. Drugs that would be stocked in an emergency drug kit pursuant to 18VAC110-20-540 may be accessed prior to receiving electronic authorization from the pharmacist provided that the absence of the drugs would threaten the survival of the patients.

d. Automated dispensing devices shall be capable of producing a hard-copy record of distribution that shall show patient name, drug name and strength, dose withdrawn, dose to be administered, date and time of withdrawal from the device, and identity of person withdrawing the drug.

5. Drugs placed in automated dispensing devices shall be in the manufacturer's sealed original unit dose or unit-of-use packaging or in repackaged unit-dose containers in compliance with the requirements of 18VAC110-20-355 relating to repackaging, labeling, and records.

6. Prior to the removal of drugs from the pharmacy, a delivery record shall be generated for all drugs to be placed in an automated dispensing device, which shall include the date; drug name, dosage form, and strength; quantity; nursing home; a unique identifier for the specific device receiving drugs; and initials of the pharmacist checking the order of drugs to be removed from the pharmacy and the records of distribution for accuracy.

7. At the direction of the PIC, drugs may be loaded in the device by a pharmacist or a pharmacy technician adequately trained in the proper loading of the system.

8. At the time of loading, the delivery record for all Schedules II through VI drugs shall be signed by a nurse or other person authorized to administer drugs from that specific device, and the record returned to the pharmacy.

9. At the time of loading any Schedules II through V drug, the person loading will verify that the count of that drug in the automated dispensing device is correct. Any discrepancy noted shall be recorded on the delivery record and immediately reported to the PIC, who shall be responsible for reconciliation of the discrepancy or the proper reporting of a loss.

10. The PIC of the provider pharmacy or his designee shall conduct at least a monthly audit to review distribution and administration of Schedules II through V drugs from each automated dispensing device as follows:

a. The audit shall reconcile records of all quantities of Schedules II through V drugs dispensed from the pharmacy with records of all quantities loaded into each device to detect whether any drugs recorded as removed from the pharmacy were diverted rather than being placed in the proper device.

b. A discrepancy report shall be generated for each discrepancy in the count of a drug on hand in the device. Each such report shall be resolved by the PIC or his designee within 72 hours of the time the discrepancy was discovered or, if determined to be a theft or an unusual loss of drugs, shall be immediately reported to the board in accordance with § 54.1-3404 E of the Drug Control Act.

c. The audit shall include a review of a sample of administration records from each device per month for possible diversion by fraudulent charting. A sample shall include all Schedules II through V drugs administered for a time period of not less than 24 consecutive hours during the audit period.

d. The audit shall include a check of medical records to ensure that a valid order exists for a random sample of doses recorded as administered.

e. The audit shall also check for compliance with written procedures for security and use of the automated dispensing devices, accuracy of distribution from the device, and proper recordkeeping.

f. The hard copy distribution and administration records printed out and reviewed in the audit shall be initialed and dated by the person conducting the audit. If nonpharmacist personnel conduct the audit, a pharmacist shall review the record and shall initial and date the record.

11. Automated dispensing devices shall be inspected monthly by pharmacy personnel to verify proper storage, proper location of drugs within the device, expiration dates, the security of drugs and validity of access codes.

12. Personnel allowed access to an automated dispensing device shall have a specific access code which records the identity of the person accessing the device.

13. The PIC of the pharmacy providing services to the nursing home shall establish, maintain, and assure compliance with written policy and procedure for the accurate stocking and proper storage of drugs in the automated drug dispensing system, accountability for and security of all drugs maintained in the automated drug dispensing system, preventing unauthorized access to the system, tracking access to the system, complying with federal and state regulations related to the storage and dispensing of controlled substances, maintaining patient confidentiality, maintaining required records, and assuring compliance with the requirements of this chapter. The manual shall be capable of being accessed at both the pharmacy and the nursing home.

14. All records required by this section shall be filed in chronological order from date of issue and maintained for a period of not less than two years. Records shall be maintained at the address of the pharmacy providing services to the nursing home except:

a. Manual Schedule VI distribution records may be maintained in offsite storage or electronically as an electronic image that provides an exact image of the document that is clearly legible provided such offsite or electronic storage is retrievable and made available for inspection or audit within 48 hours of a request by the board or an authorized agent.

b. Distribution and delivery records and required signatures may be generated or maintained electronically provided:

(1) The system being used has the capability of recording an electronic signature that is a unique identifier and restricted to the individual required to initial or sign the record.

(2) The records are maintained in a read-only format that cannot be altered after the information is recorded.

(3) The system used is capable of producing a hard-copy printout of the records upon request.

c. Schedules II through V distribution and delivery records may only be stored offsite or electronically as described in subdivisions 14 a and 14 b of this section if authorized by DEA or in federal law or regulation.

d. Hard-copy distribution and administration records that are printed and reviewed in conducting required audits may be maintained offsite or electronically provided they can be readily retrieved upon request; provided they are maintained in a read-only format that does not allow alteration of the records; and provided a separate log is maintained for a period of two years showing dates of audit and review, the identity of the automated dispensing device being audited, the time period covered by the audit and review, and the initials of all reviewers.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-2400 and 54.1-3307 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 15, Issue 8, eff. February 3, 1999; amended, Virginia Register Volume 20, Issue 23, eff. August 25, 2004; Volume 25, Issue 24, eff. September 2, 2009; Volume 35, Issue 3, eff. October 31, 2018.

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