Ohio House Bill 448 - Prescription Reader Coverage Bill

Fortitude and persistence are two words that describe the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio and their work toward making Ohio a safe and accessible place for those with vision loss. Their belief that blindness doesn’t stop you from living the life you want with a focus on removing barriers drives their pursuit of legislation for the provision and insurance coverage of audible prescription readers in all Ohio pharmacies. Ohio House Bill 448 would do just that if it passes into law.

This bill would help blind and visually impaired patients manage their medications more safely.  “Fortunately, I have sighted help when I need to know what a medication is” shares Colleen Roth, a member of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio.   “I had a friend who was blind and did not have sighted help to read prescription bottles. He simply put them in different places and guessed what they were. He has since passed away so I am sharing this in case others have done the same thing.”

Another member, Todd Elzey recently posted on Facebook, “I have more than one medication for which the instructions say: store at room temperature away from light and moisture, do not store in the bathroom. How many people store medications in the bathroom medicine cabinet? I never gave it a second thought until I first accessed one of the labels on a prescription bottle [using a prescription reader.]”

Supporters are hoping the bill will finally be passed this legislative session.  In 2019 Representative Richard Brown and a dozen co-sponsors introduced bill HB214. That previous bill was assigned to the Health Committee and had two hearings and garnered the support of vision advocates, NFB of Ohio, Cleveland Sight Center, Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Southeastern Ohio Center for Independent Living and of pharmacists in the Ohio Pharmacists Association. However, the bill was tabled due to more pressing issues during the pandemic and expired at the end of 2020.

The recently reintroduced bill HB448 has slightly different language from the prior bill including a new provision that insurance companies cover the cost of the prescription reader device if one is needed helping defray the costs for pharmacies and patients. The bill has been assigned to the Ohio House Insurance Committee.  No hearing dates have been set yet.  

#HB448  #AccessSavesLives  #National Federation of the Blind of Ohio

AARP: Talking Labels Aid the Blind with Prescriptions

Talking Labels Aid the Blind with Prescriptions

Other services also can help the visually impaired avoid life-threatening mistakes

prescription bottles that have r f i ds that can be read by scrip talks device to tell name of your medicine and other details

As some people age, they may have trouble reading prescription labels, knowing what dose to take and identifying proper pills.

Mistakes can have life-threatening consequences. The challenge is exacerbated for folks who don’t see well or have a severe visual impairment though some blind people have learned to figure out which pill is which by feeling its shape or texture.

Let the label do the talking

Many pharmacies are introducing other options that promise to be far more reliable: letting a prescription label tell you what’s in the bottle, including drug names, dosage, warnings and other information. More precisely, you’ll hear the words read aloud through a standalone speaker — or your iPhone or Android handset via an app.

“I would like to see this become ubiquitous across the pharmacy landscape,” says Eric Bridges, executive director of the American Council of the Blind in Arlington, Virginia.

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Hy-Vee Announces They are Now Offering Talking and Large Print Prescription Labels in 26 Languages

Hy-Vee, Inc. announced December 17, 2021 that talking prescription labels are now available in 26 languages to visually- and print-impaired patients at Hy-Vee’s more than 275 Hy-Vee Pharmacy locations.

In addition to English, the talking prescription labels can be translated to 25 other languages upon request. Patients who request this option will receive large-print dual-language prescription labels that feature a high contrast font in English, as well as a translation from one of the 25 other languages. These labels can also be read aloud in the selected language via the free ScripTalk reader or free ScripTalk mobile app.

“We are on a mission to make health care services more accessible for our patients,” said Kristin Williams, executive vice president and chief health officer for Hy-Vee. “Through our partnership with En-Vision America, we now offer a solution to help improve the health outcomes for our visually- and print-impaired patients, along with our non-English speaking patients who often face language barriers to health care.”

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