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A year of positive steps forward
James Keagy 1228

A year of positive steps forward

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Association Perspective

What a year! As 2022 winds to a close, I'm filled with awe and gratitude for the amazing accomplishments of APhA and our members.

In spring of 2022, the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services (ECAPS) Act, a groundbreaking piece of legislation, was introduced into the House of Representatives. The legislation, H.R. 7213, would allow Medicare patients to continue to receive treatment from pharmacists for pandemic-related health services and would permit pharmacists to respond to ongoing and future public health crises. Spearheaded by APhA in partnership with the Future of Pharmacy Care Coalition, this exciting bill may be introduced into the Senate very soon.

This is one example of the overarching theme of 2022: ensuring that pharmacy has a seat at the important policy tables. Not just a seat, but a voice that is heard, loud and clear. APhA worked hard to amplify the incredible impact that pharmacy had on the health and well-being of our nation across the entire spectrum of potential patient interventions.

We could do that because we heard you. We heard you through social media, we heard you through news reports, and we heard your personal stories through Pharmacy Workplace and Well-being Reporting (PWWR).

PWWR serves as a safe space to submit both positive and negative pharmacy workplace experiences in a confidential and anonymous manner. In September 2022, APhA and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations released the third installment of trends and findings that revealed a breakdown in communication between pharmacy staffers and upper management, and an increase in harassment and abuse. This is a critical, complex issue, and in order to make real change and change policies we need evidence-based data and information. Through your documented stories submitted via PWWR, we now have that evidence-based data to enable us to fight for solid solutions and reliable remedies.

We know that pharmacists make a significant impact on patients’ health, and now we have the quantifiable data to prove it. A featured article in the November/December 2022 issue of JAPhA showed pharmacists cared for more than 5.4 million COVID-19 hospitalized patients, administered more than 42 million tests for COVID-19, over 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, and provided more than 100,000 monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19. The study found that using conservative estimates, the pandemic interventions by pharmacists and members of the pharmacy team averted more than 1 million U.S. deaths, more than 8 million hospitalizations, and $450 billion in health care costs.

Armed with such strong stories and profound data, APhA is successfully amplifying your voice through numerous and frequent calls and formal and informal meetings with FTC, state boards, and companies. We're already seeing success in molding and implementing measures to create real reform for all pharmacists and pharmacy teams. I'm excited about all the state wins across the country. We've seen PBM reform, increased scope of practice, increased access to COVID-19 oral therapeutics, and more as APhA joins with our partners to increase access to care and expand reimbursement models for pharmacists, their teams, and their patients.

Thank you for all you've done this year and invite you to join us as we continue this good work in 2023!

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ILISA BG BERNSTEIN, PharmD, JD, FAPhA, Interim Executive Vice President and CEO, American Pharmacists Association

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