By Michael Rule, Manager of Public Affairs and Grassroots Advocacy
In the days following President Obama’s second inaugural, NCPA ran ads calling on Congress and the White House to pass legislation important to independent community pharmacy. Specifically, NCPA asked Congress to pass legislation to enact common sense PBM reforms, protect patient pharmacy choice and patient access to traditional compounding pharmacies and to allow community pharmacies to provide certain healthcare services.
These are just some issues NCPA will be pursuing in the 113th Congress as we are also working diligently to obtain an exemption for most community pharmacies to the competitive bid mandates for diabetes testing supplies which were accelerated as part of the fiscal cliff legislation and will curtail patient access to these supplies. Additionally, from a long term care (LTC) perspective, NCPA will be monitoring potential legislative action to address the use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes; and interest by CMS to potentially expand LTC special packaging provisions to the assisted living settings.
As trusted community pillars, pharmacists are their own best advocates, and pharmacist engagement is key to advancing these priorities. As the saying goes, all politics is local. Your elected officials need to hear from you, their constituents, to understand that there is demand back home for them to act. NCPA grassroots is here to help communicating with your legislators and your community.
There are countless opportunities to make your voices heard. For example, it only takes a minute or two to respond to a grassroots call to action to contact your legislators when the need arises. Similarly, Sample letters to the editor are available to our members to inspire pharmacists to take an important issue and then personalize it in their own voice in a local publication. If needed, NCPA staff can help. With the rise of social media, NCPA has compiled a list of legislator Facebook and Twitter pages which you can follow and engage directly with your elected officials.
Also, consider attending the 45th Annual NCPA Conference on National Legislation and Government Affairs, held this year May 7-8. This year’s conference is shorter and less costly to accommodate member pharmacist schedules. Attendance at the legislative conference allows you the opportunity to make appointments with your federal officials, or their staff, and explain to them face to face the role you play in the community and why these priorities are important and to ask directly for their support.
Your combined voices can make a difference.