By Sarah Dahm
AB 2194 (Ward), as introduced February 15, 2022, would add sections 4202 and 4231 to the Business and Professions Code to require that one hour of the 30 continuing education hours required for license renewal as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician include a cultural competency course. Specifically, the bill would amend section 4231 to define and set forth the criteria for the cultural competency and humility course with respect to patients who identify as LGBTQIA+, including that the course is from an accreditation agency approved by the board; that the course cover recognized health disparities faced by Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities; and that the course contains elements showing how sexual identity is directly impacted through intersectionality.
According to a press release issued by the author, members of the LGBTQ+ community often face barriers when receiving healthcare, including fear, stigma, and discrimination. Ward asserts that consistent training is needed to help pharmacists address the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community. Ward states “[w]hen LGBTQ+ individuals have a negative experience seeking healthcare, it discourages them from seeking adequate or even life-saving measures when they need it. AB 2194 will ensure pharmacists are looking out for the well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals by providing culturally competent care.”
According to Ward, California has the highest population of individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ in the United States, with an estimated 2.6 million people identifying as LGBTQ+. AB 2194 will help pharmacists and pharmacist technicians create a trusting relationship with the LGBTQ+ community. This will make these patients more likely to seek out care, resulting in more positive health outcomes.
Assemblymember Ward states that this bill is important because the healthcare system has historically struggled to fully support underrepresented groups, such as the LGBTQ+ community. Adding a cultural competency requirement for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will help them better serve and support their LGBTQ+ patients.
On March 29, 2022, the Assembly Business & Professions Committee voted to pass the bill and it is now pending before the Assembly Appropriations Committee.