During the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have been included in legislation creating a tax holiday for health professionals and first responders who continue to serve. The “Helping Emergency Responders Overcome Emergency Situations” (HEROES) Act of 2020 did not originally include pharmacists as beneficiaries, but they have since been added.
The original bill only applied to physicians, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, hospital and medical facility support staff, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, firefighters, corrections officers, and law enforcement officers. The hope is that the legislation will be added to the next congressional COVID-19 legislative package so pharmacists have peace of mind.
What does the federal tax holiday mean? It would suspend federal tax withholding for four months and give the government the authority to extend withholding for an additional three months. It applies to all income up to $150,000 annually.
Although this legislation is good news, pharmacists must remember to be extra vigilant during times that can lead to short-staffing, fewer pharmacy technicians behind the counter, and difficulties with patients obtaining transport to the pharmacy. These stressors can, and sometimes do, lead to increased mistakes and errors. Although the federal government has taken steps to recognize the important role that pharmacists have in this pandemic, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation may not be so lenient when it receives reports and complaints of pharmacists committing negligence or other stress related violations of their professional act and rules.
Williams & Nickl represents pharmacists and protects their professional licenses when IDFPR comes calling. Edward W. Williams is the former Chief of Prosecutions at IDFPR, and understands that consulting to and representing professional licensees during the pandemic is critical.