By Kevin Schweers
NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA delivered a state of the association and industry speech today at NCPA’s 115th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition. He touched on a range of topics important to independent community pharmacists and their patients.
Here are a few excerpts:
I would like to talk with you this morning about two words. The first word is “now.” N-O-W. It’s a simple word with a lot of meaning. Now– as in not yesterday. Not tomorrow. NOW.
There are many things happening in our world of pharmacy. Accountable Care Organizations are developing. Health care insurance exchanges opened less than 2 weeks ago.
Pharmacies often are being given report cards on quality measures rather than on number of prescriptions dispensed. Star ratings are becoming relevant to pharmacies.
Pharmacy’s time is NOW. Why is now pharmacy’s time?
I’m talking about medications not used correctly. I’m talking about poor medication adherence. I’m talking about the abuse of prescription drugs. I challenge anyone to pinpoint a time in history when there has been a greater need for a community pharmacist than NOW.
Our vision is that pharmacy is a leader at the center of health care. Getting there means taking advantage of our opportunities NOW. However, sometimes that produces another word similar to “now” and that is “Ow!” Yes, there will be some stubbed toes along the way. Some noses may be put out of joint. Not everything will be perfect. But make no mistake— being a leader requires some level of discomfort to accomplish the goal.
Everyone in this room should hold your head up high knowing that when you unite around a common message and raise your voice—you can move mountains!
And, there is no shortage of mountains to move. Preferred networks in Medicare Part D, a taxpayer-funded program, are excluding most independent pharmacies. NCPA has vigorously protested these networks in Part D since they started a few years ago. … We continue to work with Congress and [Medicare] on this vital issue.
In the states, NCPA has ramped up its focus. We are concentrating our energy in supporting the work of state associations and organizations to help community pharmacies.
NCPA has identified adherence as a fundamental building block to diversify revenue. Deciding that you will implement programs to improve adherence does the following three things:
1) It improves your revenue. More prescriptions, more revenue.
2) It can raise a Part D plan’s star rating. Pharmacies that can improve star ratings are more desirable. Which would you rather be? A 3-star or a 5-star pharmacy?
3) It’s the right thing to do for patients. That’s why we are community pharmacists.
[The San Diego Coronado Bridge near the site of the 2012 NCPA convention] is symbolic of where health care is going. Right now pharmacy is on this side of the bridge. We know we must get to the other side, even if we can’t always see it. Crossing doesn’t happen instantly. In fact, it will be a step-by-step process. We can choose not to cross the bridge. But we risk being left behind, and the rest of health care, along with our patients, moving to the other side without us.
NCPA is helping community pharmacy cross the health care bridge. We want everyone to get there safe and sound. Along the way, we will provide hope and ideas to diversify your revenue sources. The bridge may sway back and forth until we need meclizine. But community pharmacy will realize its envisioned future on the other side of the bridge. We know that, while there may be some occasional “ow”, pharmacy’s time is NOW.