I’m now home after an amazing two weeks on the road for the Great Midwest Pharmacy Unity Tour. This was my first extended trip outside DC as CEO, where I met many of pharmacy’s patriots and did some meaningful business, all to move pharmacy forward.
With some of my senior staff colleagues, we met with pharmacists in independent and chain practices (both large and small). We also sat down with leaders of state associations, talked with the trailblazers in health systems and managed care organizations, and huddled with insurance companies and industry partners who support pharmacy enterprises across the country. The pandemic had indefinitely delayed a lot of these important meetings, so it was gratifying to finally sit down with the people in the field who make things happen. There will be more pharmacy tours like this in the months to come.
We focused our discussions on APhA’s top advocacy goals - to get pharmacists paid for clinical patient services, and to reform the PBM industry. These are clearly getting traction and uniting the profession, including among those who weren’t previously engaged in this battle.
The momentum is tangible, and we continue to dominate the media with our message. The Ohio Capital Journal’s Marty Schladen (who first exposed PBM spreads in Ohio when he was at the Columbus Dispatch) showed up on the tour and published a story showing how provider status is making a real difference for patients like Dallas Shackleford, Jr. The same story was picked up a short time later in Becker’s Hospital Review. I had the privilege to meet Mr. Shackleford and see firsthand how pharmacists in the community changed his life when I visited Ziks Pharmacy in Dayton. You may recall that Modern Healthcare first highlighted the project at Ziks nearly a year ago. What an inspiration!
Since each picture is worth a thousand words, we’ll let the photographic record tell the rest of the story of my two weeks on the road. Click the first image at the bottom of this page to start the slide show.