Last week, APhA staff met with senior CDC staff from the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at our headquarters in Washington. We discussed multiple areas of connectivity where pharmacists play valuable roles in public health, chronic disease management, and prevention. I thanked them for their service to our country and the world. When bad things happen, often the CDC is called in to find out why and to offer solutions.
We looked at new opportunities for pharmacists to provide valuable patient care to lower the incidence of strokes and heart disease, and ways to measure improvements in patient outcomes. For example, health-system and community pharmacists can play a critical role in reducing 30-day hospital readmissions for patients with heart failure by providing medication reconciliation and close monitoring during transitions of care. Community pharmacists can help patients with chronic diseases manage their disease through enhanced medication adherence and coaching, which can also reduce hospital readmissions.
We truly value our close relationship with CDC, which we've enjoyed for many years—especially since the early days of pharmacists' immunization efforts. CDC has been a big supporter of pharmacists as important contributors to the health care team.
Last year, CDC hosted a webinar on how pharmacists can improve the nation’s health by preventing and managing diseases. The webinar showed how pharmacists could be a solution to many health care problems. “Pharmacists are poised to help the growing burden of chronic disease,” said Ileana Arias, PhD, CDC Principal Deputy Director and second in command at the agency, in her opening remarks.
It’s notable that CDC is not only publicly recognizing our value to health care, but also talking about it. In meetings like this, we always share that we’re trained, ready, and can scale important patient care services—but coverage is important, just as it was for immunizations. We know that CDC doesn’t make coverage decisions—but they are highly respected and influential colleagues of folks who DO make those decisions.