The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) has reached an agreement with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy that will lead to faster licensing of Wisconsin pharmacy students graduating into the profession.

The move also enables the department to eliminate some current pharmacy licensing steps, bringing more efficiency to the process for DSPS, as well.

“We continue to invest in people and technology, while evaluating our processes to find opportunities for improvement,” DSPS Secretary-designee Dan Hereth said. “The Evers Administration and our agency leadership are focused on innovation, efficiency, and making Wisconsin DSPS a leader in licensing while remaining steadfast in our commitment to public safety.”

The group responsible for post-graduate competency testing of Wisconsin’s pharmacy school grads, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), will now be the authority granting approval to test. Currently, graduates must send proof of graduation to Wisconsin DSPS, which then notifies NABP. Having the students send proof directly to NABP removes a step and speeds up the licensing process. In addition, the move allows DSPS to save time previously spent reviewing requests for testing before passing them along to NABP.

“We brought this issue to DSPS because we felt there was a redundancy in the process,” said Steve Swanson, Dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy. “We want to get our graduates into the state workforce as quickly as possible. We’re thankful to have partners like Secretary Hereth, DSPS and the Pharmacy Board who are open and willing to work on process improvements.”

NABP will also now notify DSPS electronically when test takers pass, an improvement that eliminates the need for DSPS staff to manually enter test scores. Once DSPS receives electronic notification of passing, assuming an applicant has met all other requirements, a Wisconsin license will automatically be issued without further staff engagement. In addition, the test scores will be electronically updated in the applicant’s file, meaning they should be able to see their score right away. Previously, they had to reach out to DSPS and ask for their test score.

These changes take effect November 14.

The streamlining of licensing processes for pharmacists and other professions is among a growing list of improvements at DSPS since Gov. Evers appointed Hereth to lead the agency. Recent work includes upgrades to the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, providing a new fire risk tool to better protect Wisconsin communities, and the first update to state plumbing code in well over a decade.

DSPS launched its Occupational Licensing: By the Numbers dashboard at the end of August, showing the department is issuing more licenses more quickly than ever before. The dashboard, which updates in real time, currently shows the average time for DSPS to review new application submissions is four calendar days.

About DSPS: DSPS issues more than 240 unique licenses, administers dozens of boards and councils that regulate professions, enforces state building codes, and maintains the Wisconsin Enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which is a key tool in the multi-faceted public health campaign to stem excessive opioid prescribing. A fee-based agency, DSPS is self-sustaining and receives no general fund tax dollars for its day-to-day operations. With four offices and 250 employees throughout Wisconsin, DSPS collaborates with constituents and stakeholders across a wide range of industries to promote safety and advance the economy.  

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