PHARMACY

NACDS awards first-ever NACDS RxIMPACT Key Contact Award

BY Antoinette Alexander

Image credit: NACDSmedia

WASHINGTON — As the National Association of Chain Drug Stores raised the curtain on this year’s NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, it presented Shopko’s Ryan Swensen with the first-ever NACDS RxIMPACT Key Contact of the Year Award.

Presented during Wednesday evening’s Welcome Dinner, the award recognizes a rank-and-file pharmacist who actively engages on behalf of pharmacy with his or her local member of Congress.

Highly-motivated in engaging with his member of Congress, Swensen hosted an NACDS RxIMPACT pharmacy tour, inviting then-Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, to see first-hand the value of highly accessible healthcare services in the local pharmacy. During the NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill event this week, Swensen will meet with his new member of Congress, Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, to discuss key issues impacting pharmacy.  

The NACDS RxIMPACT Key Contact Program fosters one-to-one engagement of pharmacy leaders advocating on behalf of pharmacy with their members of Congress and their offices. This engagement can take various forms, including pharmacy tours and congressional district activities, attending the NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill meetings, and possible political engagement.

“Ryan’s engagement on behalf of pharmacy is exemplary,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “His efforts to showcase the value of pharmacy surpass the standard of pharmacy advocacy, and is therefore rightfully deserving of the new NACDS RxIMPACT Key Contact Award.”

Earlier Wednesday, NACDS also recognized Jonathan Lee, a pharmacy student at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, as the 2015 NACDS RxIMPACT Ambassador, for his mentorship and serving as a role model in encouraging pharmacy students from across the country to participate in this year’s NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill.

Following Lee’s participation in last year’s NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill, he became an advocate for the event, publishing an article about the importance of student engagement and urging other pharmacy students to participate this year. Lee also addressed fellow pharmacy students at the “U” Academy event today, which was held earlier today in conjunction with the NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill events.

The NACDS RxIMPACT “U” Academy is an interactive advocacy education and training program for selected pharmacy students in lead-up to their meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“As the future of their profession, students play a pivotal role in pharmacy advocacy,” Anderson said.  “Jonathan is truly an ambassador for pharmacy and a role model for pharmacy students in how to become engaged in the policymaking process. We applaud his efforts to stand up for pharmacy.”

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NACDS RxIMPACT Day proves ‘impactful’ as hundreds of pharmacy advocates take Capitol Hill

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — More than 350 pharmacy advocates from 44 states met with members of Congress during the seventh annual NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

Pharmacy advocates conducted more than 450 meetings with members of Congress, meeting with every member of Congress who serves on a Congressional healthcare committee, and with every member of Congress who was newly elected in November 2014.

Prior to heading out to their meetings, NACDS presented its Congressional Leadership Award to House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Vice Chairman Brett Guthrie, R-Ky. NACDS recognized Guthrie for his sponsorship of legislation — both in this Congress (H.R. 592) and the last Congress (H.R. 4190) — that enables Medicare beneficiaries to access pharmacist-provided patient care services.

“Living up to its name, NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill is highly impactful,” stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “Decisions on policies made in Washington influence patient care in pharmacies everyday across the nation.  This annual event is an important opportunity for pharmacy advocates to engage directly with lawmakers on pro-patient, pro-pharmacy policies, and to further reinforce the recognition by lawmakers of the evolving role of pharmacy in patient care.”

This year’s NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill program included prominent speakers. Amy Walter, national editor of The Cook Political Report, delivered the keynote address during the Welcome Dinner on Wednesday evening, providing timely insights on the current political landscape and predictions leading up to the presidential election in 2016.

“Pharmacists are uniquely positioned in their expanded roles in the healthcare delivery system to help meet the healthcare needs of all Americans,” stated Anderson. “Pharmacy has an important part to play – working collaboratively with other healthcare professionals and providers – in providing patient care for those in need.”

U.S. Senator John Tester, D-Mont., and U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., also submitted official comments to the Congressional Record in support of their constituents and community pharmacy in lead-up to NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill.

Further emphasizing the pharmacy’s reach in local communities — including every congressional district — a print ad was published Thursday in the Capitol Hill publication Politico. The ad illustrates pharmacy’s role in improving patient health, and urges Members of Congress to conduct a pharmacy tour in their congressional districts.

In addition, an ad sponsored by the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition — of which NACDS is a member — was published Thursday in key Capitol Hill publications, including The Hill, National Journal, Politico and Roll Call. The ad urges lawmakers to support the bipartisan bill the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act.  PAPCC is comprised of organizations representing patients, pharmacists, and pharmacies, as well as other interested stakeholders.
 

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New media initiative shines light on pharmacists in seniors’ care

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — The Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition, a group of more than 25 organizations representing patients, pharmacists, pharmacies and other stakeholders, announced the launch of an expanded media initiative promoting the role that pharmacists can play in addressing challenges seniors face with inadequate access to healthcare services in medically underserved communities throughout the nation.

“Patients value and trust the role pharmacists play as members of their healthcare team. As our nation looks for opportunities to provide care for medically underserved Medicare beneficiaries, pharmacists stand ready to help fill the gap in care by providing patients access to healthcare services such as health tests, immunizations, and the management of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease,” stated Vince Ventimiglia, president of Leavitt Partners Collaborative Advocates and advisor to PAPCC.

The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act would provide Medicare beneficiaries access to pharmacist-provided patient care services as authorized by state laws and regulations in medically underserved communities.

“While the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (S. 314/H.R. 592) enjoys strong and growing bipartisan and bicameral support, we are expanding our efforts to promote the role that pharmacists can play in providing healthcare services to seniors,” Ventimiglia stated. “Members of Congress and their staff know the benefit of having pharmacists as part of the healthcare team. Through this initiative, we intend to raise awareness about how pharmacists can help seniors in areas of the country where access to care can be challenging.”

As part of the initiative, PAPCC will run print and digital advertising in beltway media outlets over the course of the Congressional calendar. The “Pharmacists Care, in more ways than you may know” ad, the first in a series, begins to educate readers about the role that pharmacists can play in filling the gap some patients face in accessing care.

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