Three excellent pharmacy speeches jumpstarted NCPA’s 113th Annual Convention & Trade Exposition in Nashville this morning.
In a video message to convention attendees, Dr. Don Berwick, Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), expressed his appreciation for all that pharmacists do for patient care. He spoke of two public-private initiatives launched recently with healthcare professionals, including NCPA and other pharmacy organizations: The Partnership for Patients and the Million Hearts Initiative.
Pharmacists aren’t just among the most accessible healthcare professionals, Dr. Berwick said, they are also among the best-trained to help patients take their medication as prescribed. He mentioned medication therapy management (MTM) in particular and concluded by saying there’s never been a more important time for pharmacy.
Outgoing NCPA President Bob Greenwood’s heartfelt address re-capped his year in office. “I stood on the shoulders of giants, the pharmacists, the lifeblood of their communities and towns,” he said. A few points stood out in his remarks:
- Greenwood noted that 2011 brought another affirmation – in the form of the J.D. Power and Associates National Pharmacy Survey – of the superlative customer service independent community pharmacies provide.
- “Do not sell your pharmacy out of frustration,” Greenwood urged, saying NCPA can help match buyers and sellers as well as recommend financing options such as Live Oak Bank to keep independents independent.
- Pharmacists can and will play an important role in patient-centered medical homes and accountable care organizations, he predicted. By its very definition care coordination must include the pharmacist.
- Promoting patient adherence is a win-win scenario that should be fully and formally integrated by all community pharmacists by 2015. He announced the creation of two new NCPA awards recognizing adherence – one in the field of education and another in the community pharmacy setting. Both award winners will be announced at the 2012 NCPA Convention.
- The increase in violent pharmacy crime that troubles us all is something NCPA will continue to focus on through its Protect Your Pharmacy Now! initiative and with federal, state and local officials.
- The New Yorker recently profiled the life of a rural pharmacist, Don Colcord of Nucla, Colorado, who Greenwood recognized in attendance at the Convention.
- Quoting Dr. Seuss – his “favorite physician” – Greenwood closed saying, “I won’t cry because it’s over, I’ll smile because it happened.”
The Convention Keynote Address from former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee started with a few memorable tales from the campaign trail, from being confused with Bob Dole to airport travel.
“I want to know my pharmacist,” Huckabee said, citing the pharmacist’s role in looking for any possible drug interactions and offering money-saving recommendations. “I like knowing who I’m doing business with,” he added, and then spoke of the family owned independent pharmacy he and his family use. They care because they have made a personal investment, he observed, and they are concerned about getting it right because if they don’t they could be out of business.
Huckabee appeared to express concern over the proposed mega-merger between pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) giants Express Scripts and Medco as something that may not be in the consumer’s best interest. In particular, he cited the “frightening impact” it could have on the marketplace and over personal healthcare decisions. Speaking of his local pharmacy, he added, “I know they care not just about getting my prescription right but about getting my community right.”
The rise in childhood obesity and diabetes concerns Huckabee greatly and he asserted that pharmacists and nurses can play a greater role through formal patient education. “Part of prevention is good health management and good health management does not come through the mail,” is how he put it.
Great speeches all. And congratulations to award winners Eddie Glover, Cheri Garvin, Ed Sherman, the team from Idaho State University College of Pharmacy and Ed Heckman and Compliant Pharmacy Alliance.