APhA House sets course for 2013 and beyond

House of Delegates concludes at APhA2013 with adoption of policies on new med classifications, access to pharmacist services, and take-back and disposal programs

The spirited weekend of policy discussion at the 2013 APhA House of Delegates concluded on Monday afternoon in Los Angeles with the adoption of several significant policies, including several statements addressing provider status and access to pharmacists’ services. Stay tuned to pharmacist.com for full coverage of the official policies adopted by the House.

With a quorum of 284 delegates established by APhA Vice President and CEO Thomas Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, FAPhA, ScD (Hon), acting in his role as Secretary of the House, the delegates began by considering the report of the Policy Reference Committee, chaired by Vibhuti Arya, PharmD.

During the first session of the House, delegates adopted six of eight proposed statements dealing with revisions to the medication classification system. The remaining two statements were adopted today with amendments. The eight policy statements express APhA’s support for, as the first statement says, “FDA efforts to revise the drug classification paradigms for prescription and nonprescription medications to allow greater access to certain medications under conditions of safe use while maintaining patients’ relationships with their pharmacists and other health care providers.”

The second topic proposed by the Policy Reference Committee, ensuring access to pharmacists’ services, was debated at length throughout the weekend. Delegates passed several amendments on the floor to increase the urgency of these statements; the House also discussed at length the issue of pharmacist access to and inclusion in claims data. The tenor of the seven statements ratified by the House was illustrated in an amendment successfully proposed by former Speaker Michael Moné, BSPharm, JD: “Pharmacists are health care providers who must be recognized and compensated by payers for pharmacists’ professional services.”

The House concluded its consideration of the Policy Reference Committee report by adopting four statements on the final topic, medication take-back and disposal programs.

Three New Business Items were considered by the House during its final session. Two of these, on use of the opioid overdose treatment naloxone and on medications with the potential for abuse, were referred to the Board of Delegates as recommended by the New Business Review Committee, chaired by Douglas Hillblom, PharmD. The third item, submitted by Daniel Zlott, PharmD, Chair of the Policy Review Committee, was adopted in support of pharmacists’ role in primary care: “APhA advocates for the recognition and utilization of pharmacists as providers to address gaps in primary care.”

Before the House concluded its business, outgoing President Jenelle Sobotka, PharmD, FAPhA, installed the new class of Trustees: Nancy Alvarez, PharmD, FAPhA; Brandi Hamilton; Nicki Hilliard, PharmD, MHSA, BCNP, FAPhA; William Riffee, BSPharm, PhD; and Ronald Small, BSPharm, MBA, FAPhA, FASHP. Riffee also took over the office of Speaker of the House of Delegates from Bradley Tice, PharmD, MBA, FAPhA, whose term came to an end this year.

Finally, Sobotka handed over the reins of APhA to incoming President Steven Simenson, BSPharm, FAPhA, FACA. Simenson’s request to the House summed up much of the discussion characterizing APhA2013: “I need your voice, speaking loudly for our profession.”