A few months ago, there was a court ruling that is sending shock waves throughout the pharmacy profession. The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that people with drug addictions can sue pharmacists, physicians, and other dispensers and prescribers of pain medications for contributing to their addiction and criminal activity.
I know a lot of pharmacists who are feeling very frustrated! Regulators demand perfection, or pharmacists risk severe penalties. While we have some good tools, we’re limited in where we can refer patients or get support from authorities. And, even before this ruling, just catching an abuser in the act is a little like a dog chasing a car. Once caught, it’s difficult to know what to do next.
The idea that pharmacists could be legally accountable for enabling drug abusers is both a red flag and an opportunity. Rightly or wrongly, the ruling places blame on pharmacists and health care prescribers. In addition, the decision might create an incentive for those who abuse drugs to pursue legal action, which could have a range of effects from increasing the cost of care to putting a community pharmacy out of business. In addition, it could negatively affect the way practitioners provide care for patients with legitimate pain management needs.
Conversely, the court ruling highlights the need for pharmacists to have access to electronic health records and for all caregivers to communicate. This is an opportunity to promote much-needed collaboration among community pharmacists, hospital pharmacists, physicians, and other health professionals. And I would add state medical and pharmacy boards to the list.
Patient care improves when pharmacists are on the health care team, which is why APhA is working on new tools and solutions for pharmacists. We recently launched “Practice Tools,” which are specifically intended to assist practicing pharmacists strengthen interactive relationships with their patients. The development of these tools is based on the need to provide pharmacists with more practical options to educate patients and to offer useful guidelines in the delivery of treatment options.
APhA currently offers “Practice Tools” in two areas—the treatment of patients with pain complains and patients with very high triglycerides. For more information, visit www.pharmacist.com/practice-tools.
Another tool for patients with diabetes is the APhA Foundation’s Patient Self-Management (PSM) Solutions, which allows providers to administer and manage knowledge, skills, and performance assessments that identify patients’ individual needs and customize the care that is delivered to facilitate self-management. I’m really excited about PSM Solutions! The PSM Credential for Diabetes empowers patients with diabetes progress through a series of exercises with their pharmacist or other health care provider to better manage their disease. They are typically incentivized by their employer or health plan to succeed. Take a look at the Foundation’s website at http://psmsolutions.aphafoundation.org to learn more.
AThe field of health information technology (HIT) is rapidly expanding. APhA is seeking members to serve on one of several Pharmacy HIT Collaborative workgroups and committees.
The Pharmacy HIT Collaborative was formed in 2010 by a number of national pharmacy organizations, including APhA. Its mission is to advocate for and educate key stakeholders on the meaningful use of HIT and the inclusion of pharmacists within a technology-enabled, integrated health care system.
In addition to a Value Set Committee, there are four workgroups: Professional Service Claims and Codes, Professional Service Documentation and Coding, Communication Standards, and Pharmacist Electronic Health Record.
Visit www.pharmacist.com/pharmacyHIT to learn more about each workgroup and to submit your application!
The APhA House of Delegates develops official APhA policy. Comprising delegates from state pharmacy associations, APhA membership academies, affiliated organizations, recognized pharmacy organizations, and ex-officio groups, the House of Delegates meets during the APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition to debate and adopt policy proposals developed throughout the year.
The House of Delegates Policy Committee is meeting in October to review policies on the following three topics:
Webinar sessions will be open to members to review the above policy topics. Open forum and continuing pharmacy education sessions will be available to APhA members. Member comments received during these webinars will be used to assist the Policy Committee and Delegates in drafting the policies that the House will act upon.
In addition to policy work, the House of Delegates is currently seeking applications for the office of Speaker-elect. This office is a 3-year term (2016–19) voted on by the House of Delegates. The Speaker of the APhA House of Delegates supports House committee work, presides over the House of Delegates when in session, and serves as a member of the APhA Board of Trustees.
October is American Pharmacists Month (APhM), a time for pharmacists to promote the profession and get the attention they deserve among their peers, patients, and community.
The theme of APhM is “Know Your Pharmacist – Know Your Medicine.” APhA has made it easy for you to celebrate all month long. Visit www.pharmacist.com/american-pharmacists-month for ideas for activities and events that spotlight pharmacists’ contributions toward improving medication use and advancing patient care in all practice settings. Use these ideas throughout October—and all year long—to inspire your celebrations!
Need more ideas for fun ways to celebrate?For the last 4 years, fred’s Pharmacy has asked patients to vote for their favorite hometown fred’s pharmacist. Patients place their votes online and are entered into a contest to win 1 of 150 $20 fred’s gift cards. Online voting is already open for the 2015 contest, and favorite pharmacists will announced in October. Pharmacists who receive 10 or more nominations are awarded with a plaque, and the top three pharmacists are given special recognition.
Stay tuned to pharmacist.com as we ramp up to celebrate APhM!
Parth D. Shah, PharmD PhD student at the Department of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health APhA member since 2008
The APhA Advantage for me has been … the large network of talented, motivated, and inspiring professionals. It is hard to illustrate how significant and meaningful the network of APhA members has been to my own professional and personal development as a student pharmacist and now, as a practitioner. This network continues to be an influential one in my life as I develop my career as a public health researcher.
My most memorable APhA experience… was attending the 2009 Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX. I was a student pharmacist and it was my first APhA conference. I made a lot of significant friendships at that conference, and that meeting marked the starting point for my involvement with APhA both regionally and nationally.
Professionally I want to… help develop policies, environments, and systems that help promote better and smarter medical decisions. My research is about understanding the underlying cause of why people, both patients and providers, make certain health care decisions. This type of research can be powerful in shaping policies and the health care system we interface with on a day-to-day basis.
If I weren’t a pharmacist, I’d be a…
Ninety-five percent of APhA2015 attendees agreed that the knowledge and skills gained from the meeting would help improve their practice. Would you like to be part of this group? Join us March 4-7, 2016, in Baltimore for the 2016 APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition. Learn from subject matter experts, increase your knowledge, and broaden your network with over 6,000 of your colleagues.
The pharmacy profession is seeing opportunities to lead like never before, which makes this year’s theme, Expanding Opportunities through Patient Care, so appropriate. Today, more than ever, the profession has a tremendous opportunity to influence positive health outcomes in patient care. APhA2016’s lineup of rock star speakers will present a wealth of knowledge in more than 80 educational sessions that will help you stay current in practice and clinical issues and be prepared to take on expanded roles.
Stay up-to-date with innovations in pharmacy by interacting with industry leaders and company representatives from more than 150 exhibiting companies. Participate as an attendee or an exhibitor, and network during the various APhA Foundation and APhA social events. Don’t miss these opportunities to connect with leaders and innovators!
Registration is now open.
Visit us at www.aphameeting.org to secure your spot today and for additional information.
Natosha McNeal, contributing writer
Are you passionate about pharmacy? Are you interested in helping shape the future of APhA? Then throw your hat into the ring to be a candidate for the 2016 APhA election!. APhA is currently looking for candidates for the 2016 APhA Board of Trustees, APhA Academy of Pharmacy Practice & Management (APhA–APPM) and APhA Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Science (APhA–APRS) election cycle.
Interested candidates must submit the online application by October 1, 2015. For more information, visit http://pharmacist.com/elections/.
APhA will hold a new webinar, Developing Pharmacy Care Plans for Patients with Allergic Rhinitis. Participants will discuss treatment options for allergic rhinitis with consideration for special populations, including product selection considerations, correct dosing and administration, contraindications, and adverse effects. Participants will also construct an individualized pharmacy care plan for a patient with allergic rhinitis who has not received relief from intranasal corticosteroids.
Speakers include Suzanne G. Bollmeier, PharmD, BCPS, AE-C, Professor of Pharmacy Practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, and Dennis Williams, PharmD, Associate Professor at University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy.
Visit www.pharmacist.com/live-activities for more information and to register.
The Joint Federal Pharmacy Seminar (JFPS) is the only pharmacy education and training meeting for all federal pharmacists and technicians. The 2015 meeting will be held next month at Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center just outside of Washington, DC, from October 18 to 21.
“JFPS allows industry to engage with federal pharmacists and key decision makers about their products to discuss technology, operational, and clinical advances in support of patient care,” said LTC (ret) Stacia Spridgen, PharmD, Director of the APhA Federal Pharmacy Program.
JFPS is the only pharmacy education and training meeting for all federal pharmacists and technicians. It is an opportunity for the group to share best practices and common challenges and issues within the federal sector. “This year, pharmacists and technicians will hear from Chief Pharmacists from the Department of Defense, the Coast Guard, the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Spridgen. “We’ll learn about their priorities, major initiatives, and what keeps them up at night.”
RADM Scott Giberson, BSPharm, PhC, NCPS-PP, MPH, Chief Executive Officer of the 6,700-plus members of the USPHS Commissioned Corps and the overall Commander, Commissioned Corps’ Ebola Response in West Africa, will speak on a leadership topic, “Managing and Motivating Staff.”
The Department of Defense, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, and Navy will recognize their “superstars” through annual awards.
For more information about JFPS 2015 or to register,
APhA recently challenged members to upload a new profile photo as part of the APhA Engage Profile Photo Contest. The three winners, selected at random, are APhA members Suzanne Francis, Marsha Millonig, and Lucy Adkins. Congratulations on updating your profiles and joining the more than 2,500 pharmacists who are part of the APhA’s Engage community! Each winner received a $25 gift card from Amazon. Congratulations!