We’ve all heard the phrase, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Those words are especially fitting today both for me and for our profession as I assume the role of APhA’s CEO at a critical juncture in pharmacy history. It is a privilege and honor to serve, especially in this time of exciting possibilities for pharmacists.
A few short months ago, APhA’s members decried the absence of pharmacy in President Obama’s first Health Care Reform Summit. Since then, we’ve successfully convinced lawmakers that pharmacists are a crucial part of the solution for America's medication-use crisis. Today, we’re not only at the table--we are being heard! You can see the results by looking through the articles and information on the Health Care Reform Hub at www.pharmacist.com.
But we’re just getting started, dangers lie ahead, and we need the commitment of every pharmacist to take advantage of this generational opportunity to advance our profession. Sitting back and assuming employers or health plans will take care of your practice, your patients, and in fact you and your family is not an option. I promise you not to be a "sky is falling" fanatic. We have been successful in getting pharmacist-provided MTM recognized in Senate proposals being marked up now. But I do feel a sense of urgency--and I hope you are sensing that too. Much can change between today and the final passage of HCR legislation (leaders have set an October 15 deadline for action) and writing of regulations, especially if we go silent now or at any point in the process.
Your Congressmen and Senators will be home during the month of August. Typically, they hold and attend events around the district or state. If you start now, you can arrange to meet with them or host them in your pharmacy practice setting. To write a letter asking for time, access the tools in APhA's Legislative Action Center.
Tell your Senators and Representative that you want to visit with them. Then follow up. Our message is simple--pharmacists like you can improve patient medication use and lower overall health care costs. Provision of care, not just dispensing, is key!