Former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) offered testimonials to the critical role community pharmacists play in the health care system during an Oct. 19 health care reform discussion at NCPA’s annual convention.
Frist, a heart surgeon before his election to the Senate, said he likes his primary care physician, but sometimes he’s not accessible. At those times, “I go to you,” he told the full house of pharmacists.
Frist alluded to a Pew Research Poll that found pharmacists to be among the most trusted health professionals. He credited community pharmacists for averting a full-blown disaster during the 2006 implementation of the Medicare Part D benefit. “You did it,” he declared.
Daschle decried the high rate of unfilled prescriptions (which he said were estimated as high as 50%) and identified chronic illness as a significant opportunity for pharmacist-delivered medication therapy management. No one plays a greater role at coordinated care than the community pharmacist, he told the crowd.
Daschle also challenged community pharmacists to be active in the health care reform debate. He proposed a simple litmus test: Know by name the health care legislative aide for one’s U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative. “That opportunity presents itself and I hope you take advantage of it,” he said.