By Kevin Schweers
NCPA President Mark Riley, PharmD, addressed the NCPA 116th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition in Austin, Texas today, discussing the term as President that he is concluding and the community pharmacy industry in general.
Here are some highlights from his speech:
NCPA goes to great lengths by listening to members through surveys, meetings, committees, and one-on-one conversations to determine priorities. We are well aware of the platform issues such as preferred networks, MAC pricing problems, and mail order pharmacy and we work on these issues constantly. After all, the members of this board of directors are all pharmacy owners so we feel the same pain that every one of you feel. We’re all in this together.
The way we approach issues sometimes reminds me of a story about Mickey Mantle, the New York Yankees baseball star, who was my boyhood hero. A reporter once asked Mantle, “Mick, do you ever go up to the plate actually trying to hit a home run?” Mantle answered, “Every time I go up there.”
Now, over his career, he only a home run every 15 Abs (every 13 during his prime). He settled for a lot of singles and doubles, and, as with any hitter, made more outs than anything else —and even was known for striking out a lot. But he didn’t hit those 536 home runs trying to hit singles. The point is, he was always looking for the opportunity for the absolute WIN at the plate – a home run – for you baseball fans, “take it yard”.
By the same token, we have to accept less than we want sometimes, and accomplish what we can for the membership by understanding what is doable. But nevertheless, our intent is always to completely fix the problem – to “hit the home run”.
I believe the overriding issue affecting everything we deal with is this: Health care delivery in America is changing. Not “may change”, not “going to change”; is changing. Payers are looking for two things: 1) cost containment, and 2) quality.
I believe pharmacy can and will be a big part of the solution for the following reasons:
- Pharmacists are the least utilized healthcare professionals based on education. The gap between what we are trained to do and what we are allowed to do is greater than with any other profession.
- We are the medication experts. Pharmacists have approximately 10-15 times more pharmacology education than any other healthcare professional.
- For every dollar spent on drugs, a dollar is spent on using them wrong or ineffectively.
- The space between diagnosis and initial prescribing and follow up is the biggest gap in health care and pharmacists are trained and perfectly situated to address it.
Again, thank you for being here and thank you for allowing me the privilege of serving on the board of directors and as President of NCPA. I look forward to speaking personally with many of you this week.