Dispensing prescriptions below cost, waiting far too long to get a PA for a patient’s prescription, trying to figure out just what it will take to stay in compliance with the latest USP, CMS, or your BOP regulations that have just been promulgated — these are just some of the obstacles we have to navigate on a daily basis in today’s practice.
We’ve all asked ourselves, “How did we get to this point?” The simple answer is that we were too busy working in our practices to notice how these “little” things built over time to become larger than life, and in some instances have taken over our ability to practice in the best interest of our patients. What can we do now? Have we reached the point of no return?
I only know that if we don’t try to do something, then, yes, we’ve reached the end of the line. I, for one, will not accept that we are unable to change our situation. I also realize that I will not be able to effect change by myself— I need your help. We will all have to band together.
The best way to do this is by joining and becoming an active member of our State Pharmacy Associations and NCPA, The National Community Pharmacy Association. Becoming an active member will mean volunteering some of the “spare” time we all have in such plenty and serving on a committee in these organizations.
In the Member Benefits section, you have seen that WSPC is investing in membership in NCPA for qualified WSPC members. NCPA has invested countless hours on behalf of independent pharmacies on state and federal legislative issues. They have large, dedicated legislative staffs— one that focuses specifically on state legislative issues and another that focuses on federal legislation. NCPA has model legislation to address numerous issues, and they have the staff to help community pharmacy on the state level as we shepherd that legislation through to effect change in our respective states. The federal group is always there to help pass legislation and work with other associations to respond to regulations from all the various agencies that wish to tell us how to practice.
They are also available to us if we want to go visit our federal delegation to talk about pharmacy practice legislation. I always touch base with NCPA if I’m going to be in D.C. to be sure that I don’t neglect my public duty to remind my elected official and staff what the issues are and how they affect my patients and practice. The “biggie” right now is Provider Status legislation, which if it passes out of the legislature, may not be signed by the president.
We must create change locally as well as federally. We need to work as a team to get the change we desperately need so we can continue to serve our communities and our patients. If we don’t call and tell our story to the legislators and their staff, then the PBM, Insurance, and PHARMA’s lobbyists will tell our story for us, which we know will never be in our best interest. So call your state and federal legislators’ office and get to know their healthcare aide on a first name basis, because only you can tell your story!
It is a story worth telling, so pick up the phone and call them before you have to call another insurance company’s help(less) desk and be put on hold!
You can also take advantage of the new easy to use resource AmerisourceBergen just launched, https://www.ourindependentvoice.com. The newly launched website provides us a centralized place to access tools and resources for independent pharmacies: You can join advocacy movements that impact care in the community setting, research policies impacting independent pharmacy, access letter templates and write to legislators, and connect with other pharmacists and pharmacy organizations.
Don’t let someone else tell your story!
By Dirk White, RPh
Executive Vice President, WSPC Legislative Affairs Regional Leader WSPC, Alaska