House Study Bill 51 advanced through subcommittee on Monday afternoon, but is likely to be amended. The bill allows licensed podiatrists to administer, prescribe and order immunizations.
Mike St. Clair, representing the Iowa Podiatric Medical Society, said the organization is a proponent of the proposal.
St. Clair said the legislation passed the House previously with just four no votes. He said podiatrists have training and backgrounds similar to an MD or DO as they follow the 4-4-3 model of education and training. Podiatrists receive four years of undergraduate education, four years of podiatric medical school and three years of residency training. They have full prescribing privileges as well.
“It seems on its face I think sort of patently ridiculous that someone may surgically remove your foot (but) does not technically have authorization to give a flu shot,” St. Clair said.
The Podiatric Medical Society consulted with the state licensing board on whether Podiatrists have the authority to provide vaccines. They were told they do not currently have the authority and a change is needed in law.
Kate Walton from the Iowa Medical Society said the organization is undecided and prefers to see an amendment excluding the pediatric vaccine series. There is also a desire to see an amendment requiring reporting to IRIS, the state’s vaccine registry. Should those changes be made, the bill would be acceptable moving forward.
Democrat State Rep. John Forbes said he voted for the bill a couple of years ago and believes expanding immunization access for patients is “very important.”
“Since COVID it’s even more important,” he said.
Republican State Rep. Tom Jeneary said he has no problem with the bill and doesn’t see any issue with the amendments either.
Republican State Rep. Steve Bradley chaired the subcommittee and said he is OK with the amendments as well and hopes to have them for committee.
Forbes, a licensed pharmacist, was surprised to learn physicians are not required to report to IRIS. He suggested fixing that issue as well.
“I think as pharmacists and physicians and dentists, we need to see a complete record,” he said.
The Iowa Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics is registered against the legislation.
Americans For Prosperity is the only other group registered in support along with the Iowa Podiatric Medical Society.
A number of organizations are registered undecided.