Pharmacists in Action, September 2014

What Pharmacists Are Doing Across the Country

Your patient stories, our success on the Hill, and beyond


They say that the whole is greater that the sum of its parts. When it comes to our quest for provider status, each and every individual pharmacist sharing patient stories is contributing to the profession’s recognition and value.

For those of you keeping score, there are now nearly 100 cosponsors of H.R. 4190, the legislation that would provide Medicare beneficiaries with access to, and coverage for, pharmacist-provided patient care services.

Your visits to Capitol Hill to meet with Members of Congress and their staff are adding up and making a difference. In July, 120 student pharmacist leaders participated in 208 scheduled visits with Members of Congress as part of the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA–ASP) Summer Leadership Institute. In June, the APhA Board of Trustees hit the Hill and participated in almost 40 Hill meetings.

Together, the numbers are impressive, as well as accretive to the efforts of our partner organizations in the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition. But it all starts with individual pharmacists sharing their own unique patient care stories to convince legislators to act. For example, Christina Beatty, a 2015 PharmD candidate at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy and a member of APhA–ASP, wrote an op-ed article for about how she helped educate a patient on staying adherent to his hypertension medications. This anecdote demonstrated the importance of having a pharmacist on the health care team. She eloquently, yet simply, explained H.R. 4190 and underscored what provider status would mean.

Arkansas pharmacist Nicki Hilliard, PharmD, MHSA, BCNP, shared her story about providing patient care on APhA’s YouTube channel. Hilliard described a patient who came in every week to get her medications filled. When Hilliard suggested that it might save money and time if the patient picked up her medications monthly, the patient was hesitant. Eventually Hilliard realized that the patient was coming in to see and talk to her because of the special relationship Hilliard had built with the patient.

Ryan Gates, PharmD, CGP, CDE, of California’s Kern Medical Center, is the focus of this month’s Pharmacy Today provider status profile series. Gates provides much-needed care to patients in Kern County, which ranks among the worst counties in California for deaths caused by diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Gates makes a difference in patients’ lives due to SB 493, which granted provider status to all licensed pharmacists in California when it passed in 2013. See page 60 of this issue to read the full story.

In all ways, shapes, and forms, individual pharmacists are sharing their patient stories to show how important it is for pharmacists to be recognized as health care providers.

Watch more remarkable pharmacist stories on APhA’s YouTube channel at, or read more about pharmacists like Gates in Today’s provider status profiles at

If you would like to share your story, please visit

Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA, Executive Vice President and CEO

Media vibe

During the month of July, APhA External Communications and Media Advisors responded to more than 10 media inquiries, including:

  • CQ/Roll Call: Provider status
  • Progressive Grocer: Rx-to-OTC switches
  • Healthday: AAP study on teaspoon measurements
  • Inside Health Policy: State scope-of-practice issues
  • Lifescript: How patients can avoid errors at the pharmacy
  • Reader’s Digest: Food–drug interactions
  • Questions to ask your pharmacist to save money
  • Woman’s Day: Preventing the flu and overmedication

Make APhA2015 your priority

There are many reasons to attend APhA2015: networking, continuing education, inspiration, and innovation. No matter what the reason, you can rest assured that you’ll be part of an amazing event that represents boundless opportunities. The upcoming APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition, held March 27–30, 2015, in San Diego, will unite more than 6,500 pharmacy professionals to advance the pharmacy profession.

What you can learn

With more than 70 education sessions, APhA2015 offers pharmacists the unique opportunity to personalize their own learning experience and earn up to 20 hours of continuing pharmacy education credits.

Use the APhA Interactive Planning Tool to plan your schedule and maximize your time at the annual meeting.

Who you can meet

Soak up the sun and sights while advancing your pharmacy career. Reconnect with your peers. Network with your fellow pharmacists and build long-lasting personal and professional bonds. Maximize the opportunity that APhA2015 represents not only for your career and personal development but also to visit San Diego and plan the vacation that has been on your calendar for months. Make it a family vacation or a getaway with your friends.

What you can do

In addition to taking advantage of the sunshine and shore in San Diego, you can also explore the more than 150 exhibiting companies at the APhA2015 Exposition. Expand your growing network and meet with representatives who will discuss the improvements you can make to your practice, answer questions on recent developments in pharmacy technology, and discover innovative products.

Act now and register for APhA2015 at

Natosha McNeal, contributing writer

A minute with …

Sharon S. Gatewood, PharmD
Community Pharmacy Practice Faculty
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy

APhA member since 1999

I first became interested in being a pharmacist … when I started working as a pharmacy technician in a community pharmacy and experienced interactions with patients. I realized that a pharmacist is an important part of the health care team. I saw firsthand that patients relied on their pharmacist for education and recommendations regarding their medications. It was amazing.

I joined APhA because … I wanted to help move the profession of pharmacy toward the future. As a student pharmacist, I saw that this organization was about uniting the profession for the good of pharmacists. It is easier to create change as a group versus as an individual.

The advice I give to pharmacists who want to follow my career path … is that I feel that it is important to stay involved professionally on a national, state, and local level. Being involved has allowed me to understand how decisions in health care will affect pharmacists. This involvement has given me the opportunity to be involved in these decisions.

My most memorable APhA experience … is completing a rotation with Anne Burns during my community pharmacy residency. I was able to see what APhA does for the profession of pharmacy by getting to be a part of their process. The people I met and the experiences I gained during this opportunity have shaped me as a pharmacist.

Professionally I want to … work to give pharmacists the opportunity to be an equal part of the health care team.

Resources for the 340B Drug Pricing Program

A wealth of information is available to those involved in the 340B Drug Pricing Program. The program requires drug manufacturers to provide outpatient drugs to eligible safety-net organizations at a reduced price to ensure patient access to medications. Here are some resources available to help stakeholders stay compliant and gain a greater understanding of the program.

Help from HRSA

The 340B Program is administered by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA). HRSA oversees 340B enrollment, recertification, and compliance. Its website provides detailed information on these three areas.

HRSA’s website also offers archived free 340B Peer-to-Peer program webinars. During the 340B Peer-to-Peer webinars, 340B leading industry experts present on timely topics in an interactive format. Past webinar topics include 340B basics, contract pharmacy oversight, and operationalizing 340B policies and procedures. 

Prime vendor

Another resource is the Apexus Prime Vendor Program. Apexus is a nonprofit corporation that serves as the exclusive contract for HRSA’s 340B Prime Vendor Program (PVP). Apexus is responsible for securing subceiling discounts on outpatient drug purchases and discounts for covered entities that join the PVP. HRSA and Apexus are the only sources of information related to the 340B Program that are verified and endorsed by HRSA.

Apexus offers a variety of educational materials online, including tools for audits and draft policies, frequently asked questions, and procedures that can be customized to fit the needs of individual practice sites. Besides virtual resources, Apexus operates a high-volume call center for all stakeholders who need individualized technical assistance or help understanding HRSA’s policies. In addition, Apexus works closely with HRSA to develop the content for 340B University, which is free to attend and held about once a month. Topics at the event include 340B basics, pricing calculations, program integrity, and audits.

APhA resources

APhA’s safety-net landing page on is a great channel for safety-net providers. The page offers relevant news articles, useful links, and information about pertinent upcoming events and educational offerings.

Social networking

LinkedIn, the social network site for professionals, has a 340B Resource Network group intended for 340B stakeholders to share information on access to pharmaceuticals, best practices, and safe medication. APhA, on behalf of the HRSA 340B Peer-to-Peer program, facilitates this group.

Allison Gross, Manager, Communications and Peer-to-Peer Operations, APhA Federal Contracts & Grants

The Pharmacists Care campaign is back!

The APhA Foundation kicked off a fundraising and awareness campaign last year to celebrate American Pharmacists Month in a unique way that recognizes the care pharmacists provide to patients.

Once again, pharmacists and pharmacy supporters will have the opportunity to make a minimum $30 donation and personalize a lawn marker with their name and state, to be displayed the week of October 20, 2014. Some people may choose to recognize others who have been mentors or educators who have influenced their career. Those who want to honor multiple people, such as pharmacy owners recognizing employees, can reserve four markers for a donation of $100.

Acting Surgeon General RADM Boris D. Lushniak, MD, MPH; APhA Executive Vice President and CEO Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA; Acting Deputy Surgeon General RADM Scott Giberson, BSPharm, PhC, NCPS-PP, MPH; and APhA Foundation Executive Director Mindy Smith, BSPharm, during last year’s celebration of American Pharmacists Month.

The 2013 Pharmacists Care campaign was a great success, with approximately 600 lawn markers displayed at APhA headquarters. The display received accolades from the Acting Surgeon General and Acting Deputy Surgeon General, who paid a visit to show their support for the campaign and recognize the significance of pharmacists’ care in improving people’s health.

Campaign donations will support the APhA Foundation’s mission of improving people’s health through pharmacists’ patient care services. The APhA Foundation pursues its mission through practice-based research and programs that provide resources to pharmacists working to expand or improve patient care.

Join the 2014 campaign today by visiting Help the APhA Foundation pack the APhA lawn this year with a strong visual of the impact made by pharmacists’ care!

Members only

Cynthia Boyle, PharmD, FAPhA, has been appointed interim dean of the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). In addition to pharmacy, Boyle will oversee academic departments offering allied health degrees in physician assistant studies, physical therapy, exercise science, and rehabilitation services. Boyle has served three terms of office in the APhA Academy of Pharmacy Practice & Management.

Gary Kadlec, BSPharm, MBA, president of Diplomat, the nation’s largest independent specialty pharmacy, was elected to the board of directors of the American Foundation of Pharmaceutical Education (AFPE). Kadlec will serve a 3-year term as a board member. AFPE was founded in 1942 to advance and support pharmaceutical education in the United States.

David Laven, BSPharm, CPh, NPh, FASHP, FAPhA, CDR, was named as the recipient of the 2014 James H. Beal Award, which is the Florida Pharmacy Association’s most prestigious honor for a pharmacist. David received this award in recognition of his numerous accomplishments and contributions to pharmacy and public health at the local, state, national, and international level over his 37-year career. Laven is a specialist in the area of radioactive drugs and the practice of nuclear pharmacy.

Did you know?

Since its inception in 1912, the APhA House of Delegates has developed policy that has influenced the profession of pharmacy and pharmacists’ role in patient care as well as guided APhA. APhA members play an integral role in ensuring that the APhA House has broad representation of the profession and that the policies considered by the House reflect contemporary pharmacy practice issues.

This year’s House cycle begins implementation of revisions to the delegate appointment process designed to better engage delegates throughout the year and to maintain an appropriately sized House of Delegates. Based on a 2013 APhA bylaws change, delegates will serve a 1-year term from June 1 to May 31 of the following year. Yearlong delegates will have opportunities to engage in the policy development process throughout the year by participating in webinars, providing feedback on proposed policy topics, and interacting with other delegates.

State pharmacy associations, national organizations, APhA Academies, and other pharmacy groups, including federal pharmacy, appoint delegates. APhA members interested in serving as a delegate should contact their state pharmacy association or national organization and request appointment as that organization’s representative to the APhA House.

APhA members can engage in the policy development process in a number of other ways, including serving on one of many House of Delegates committees. If you are interested in serving your profession in this capacity, visit, or e-mail House of Delegates staff at

Ryan M. Burke, PharmD, APhA Senior Manager, Governance & Practice Initiatives