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Business program: Advancing the voice of health care

BY Michael Johnsen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Nuanced and intuitive leadership. That’s how Steve Anderson, president and CEO for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, characterized today’s state of the NACDS — a body made greater by the sum of its parts that has successfully navigated the complexities of today’s evolving healthcare environment, as well as the intricacies of the political arena — on Sunday during his address before attendees of the NACDS Annual Meeting 2014.

“My theme for us this morning is the ways in which NACDS is better now,” Anderson said. “[And] the ways in which we must continue to maintain our edge in a fiercely competitive environment in business, in politics and also in policy.”

President and CEO of NACDS Steve Anderson spoke of the ways in which NACDS has improved its position in business, politics and policy.

“Today we go into Congressional offices, and they know our issues,” he said. “They understand [the NACDS members’ collective] value.” And that value is in pharmacy’s ability to be a positive disruptive innovator in the delivery of health care.

The executive branch also understands the value of community pharmacy, Anderson noted. “Last December, just before the go-live date for exchange-based insurance, the Obama administration turned to pharmacy and to NACDS for help,” he said. “The administration wanted to avoid patient confusion when patients went to use their benefits. So throughout the holidays, NACDS members and staff worked with the administration to ‘war-room’ the potential problems and solutions.”

Anderson’s statements echoed that of outgoing chairman Bob Narveson, president and CEO of Thrifty White Pharmacy. Narveson drove home the central theme of his chairmanship of the association: pharmacy’s commitment to serving patients and consumers, and NACDS’ value to chain and associate members as they focus on that priority.

Anderson coined a new term to describe Narveson’s time at the NACDS helm — “Narvesonian.” “It’s ideal servant leadership,” Anderson said. “It’s humble confidence, compassionate strength. That style has made Narveson a truly terrific chairman of the NACDS board.”

“I wanted to focus on pharmacy services and the importance of medication adherence and patient care. I wanted to represent everyone, whether you’re a regional or national chain, or one of our associate members who partner with us,” Narveson told attendees. “We are the face of neighborhood health care, and as long as we focus on what’s best for our patients and the entire industry, the state of our industry is great.”

Outgoing NACDS chairman Bob Narveson, president and CEO of Thrifty White Pharmacy, outlines the association’s successes over the past year at Saturday’s business program.

“Each and every day we are seeing opportunities and examples of entities across the healthcare system coming together to positively shape the nation’s health and healthcare system for the future,” said Jack Bailey, SVP policy, payers and vaccines for GlaxoSmithKline, in his address during the morning session. “Now more than ever it is possible to envision an America where stakeholders both public and private work together to focus on the needs of patients and to enhance the quality of life, where access to high-quality prevention services and health care is available to all.”


Jack Bailey, SVP policy, payers and vaccines for GlaxoSmithKline, spoke on how the healthcare system is working collaboratively to improve patient care and access.

Narveson outlined many NACDS wins, including the advancement of front-end issues and dialogue through the NACDS Retail Advisory Board, the growth of NACDS RxImpact grassroots advocacy and the NACDS Political Action Committee, success in shaping the new prescription drug supply chain law, the introduction of and advocacy for pharmacy provider status legislation, growing recognition of pharmacy’s importance in public health emergencies, and the launch of the NACDS “Victory Vision” opinion research and communications program.

Sunday’s Business Program also featured a keynote address from Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation and author of the New York Times best-seller “Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think.”

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NACDS Annual Meeting 2014

BY DSN STAFF
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CVS’ new insurance bill pay service comes at critical time

BY Antoinette Alexander

CVS Caremark has long stressed its commitment to reinventing pharmacy, and news of a bill pay service for health insurance premiums is in line with that mission and is yet another first that the trailblazer can add to its ever-growing list.

As the article states, customers can now visit their local CVS/pharmacy to pay their health insurance premiums at no additional cost. CVS/pharmacy is the first national retail pharmacy to offer this service.

The service in and of itself is notable, but of course, the timing of launch is what makes it especially important. It is no secret that health care is going through a period of intense change as millions of previously uninsured Americans gain coverage due to healthcare reform.

CVS Caremark has played a key role in providing the uninsured with information about new health insurance coverage opportunities. In fact, in September 2013 the company unveiled a companywide information and outreach program that comprised of retail events and brochure displays at CVS/pharmacy stores and MinuteClinic locations to help customers navigate their insurance options.

Why? A CVS Caremark survey had found that pharmacies would be a primary resource to meet the needs of uninsured Americans, with 68% of those surveyed expecting retail pharmacies to offer health insurance information in store and/or online. Among those asking for help, Hispanics and the youngest group surveyed (ages 18 years to 35 years) were significantly more likely to say they need help understanding the exchanges.

This new bill pay service is a natural evolution in helping those newly enrolled patients transition and have access to an easy way to pay their premiums in store.

 

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