APhA House of Delegates debates health inequities, harassment, national pharmacy organization unity
At its Monday, March 15, 2021 business session, members of the APhA House of Delegates (HOD) considered policies salient to both pharmacy and the nation at large, including abuse of power and harassment in the profession, anti-racism, and social determinants of health. The session also included discussion on medications for opioid-use disorder and a proposal to unify national pharmacy organizations.
HOD—which comprises representatives from state pharmacy associations, APhA membership academies, recognized pharmacy organizations, federal pharmacy, and ex-officio groups—develops official APhA policy on issues affecting the pharmacy profession and patient care. Monday’s business session, during which the body deliberated and voted on policy proposals, was the third to be conducted virtually since March 2020.
HOD Speaker Joey Mattingly, PharmD, MBA, PhD, opened the session by thanking delegates for their continued engagement in the policy development process and reviewed HOD’s voting procedures and processes for conducting the work of the House. He kept the Delegates engaged through the process by ensuring they knew the item or issue that was on the floor for debate, and at times inserting his cat or humor in the process.
First up for debate among the 300 delegates in attendance were unfinished business items from the November 2020 special virtual session. Delegates voted on amendments to three policy statements related to medications for opioid-use disorder; the amendments were approved as presented.
HOD delegates voted via pre-session ballot on proposed reports and statements to streamline the work of the House and allow for adequate debate during the business session. The HOD Policy Review Committee report (excluding six items to be further reviewed by the next Policy Review Committee) and the House Rules Review committee report were adopted through this ballot. Policy recommendations from the Policy Reference Committee on multi-state practice of pharmacy (eight statements, of which two were amended) and continuity of care (nine statements, of which four were amended) were adopted via the ballot and had no further discussion during the virtual House session. Eight new business items (NBIs) and the noted Whole Number Statements were also adopted through the ballot process:
- Anti-Racism (Statements 1–6)
- People First Language (Statement 1)
- Increasing Awareness and Accountability to End Harassment, Intimidation, Abuse of Power, Position, or Authority in Pharmacy Practice (Statements 1, 2, and 5; items 3 and 4 were rejected)
- Increasing Access to and Affordability of Naloxone (Statements 1–4)
- Unity and Strength of the National Pharmacy Practitioner Organizations (Statement 1)
- Definition of Patient (Statement 1)
- Social Determinants of Health (Statements 1–5)
- Promoting Financial Preparedness for Student Pharmacists, Applicants, and Recent Graduates (Statements 1–3)
HOD New Business Review Committee Chair Brandi Hamilton, PharmD, MS, BCPS, announced her committee’s recommendation to reconsider NBI 3’s rejected Whole Number Statement 4, which it amended to incorporate aspects of Whole Number Statement 3 and otherwise fortify it. Statement 4 addressed the ways pharmacy organizations should ensure that recipients of its awards and honors, as well as candidates for its leadership positions, have not credibly been accused of abuse of power or position, intimidation, or harassment. Delegates ultimately voted to refer the policy statement to the APhA Board of Trustees for further refinement.
Delegates also had the opportunity to propose that the body reconsider items that passed via the pre-session ballot. Several items were discussed for reconsideration, and the Delegates approved a motion to reconsider NBI 5’s Whole Number Statement 1, which pertains to unification of national pharmacy organizations. The statement encourages the organizations to collaborate and reduce duplicative efforts, which could amplify the profession’s voice and facilitate more efficient advocacy. Through action during the session the amended language was approved.
Monday’s session marked the end of Mattingly’s 2-year term as Speaker; he passed the torch to Melissa Skelton Duke, PharmD, BCPS, FAPhA, who will serve in the role until 2023. Duke is the executive director of Population Health Pharmacy Solutions at Banner Health.
Although he was unable to physically preside over the legislative body during his 2-year term, Mattingly told delegates that his time as Speaker was incredibly meaningful. He also thanked wife Ashlee “for the unconditional love and support while I served.” Several delegates applauded Mattingly’s leadership and ability to facilitate virtual activities of the House during the hearing’s open comment period.
At the beginning of the session, incoming APhA Board of Trustees members and academy officers recited their oaths of office, which were administered by outgoing APhA President Michael D. Hogue, PharmD, FAPhA, FNAP. Their terms commenced the day following the session’s conclusion. Theresa Tolle, BPharm, FAPhA, was also sworn in as APhA's 2021–2022 President-elect. Incoming APhA President Sandra Leal, PharmD, MPH, FAPhA, CDE, also took her oath of office. Leal’s term continues through the 2022 APhA Annual Meeting.
The session adjourned at 4:18 pm.
Rachel Balick, editorial director