Pharmacy staff safety, well-being dominate discussions at final APhA2019 House of Delegates session

On Monday, March 25, APhA delegates met at Washington State Convention Center in Seattle for the final session of the APhA House of Delegates (HOD) during the 2019 APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition. The  delegates deliberated and voted on remaining proposed policy from the APhA Policy Reference Committee on consolidation within health care, and new business items related to gluten content in medications, unit-of-use packaging, pharmacy technician scope, and working with patients with special needs, but it was pharmacy staff safety and well-being, as well as recognition of pharmacists as practitioners and within collaborative practice that took center stage.

Policy debate
Steve Firman, RPh, MBA, FAPhA, chair of the 2019 APhA Policy Reference Committee, presented the committee’s recommendations on the remaining policy statement within the Policy Committee Report that was referred to the Policy Reference Committee during the first session of the House of Delegates.

The House adopted Whole Number Statement 3 under topic 1, “Consolidation within Health Care,” as amended by the committee. The reference committee also recommended an additional statement under “Consolidation within Health Care,” which was adopted. The adopted statements address the review processes for mergers and acquisitions and their impact on patient care.

During the first House session, policy was adopted addressing “Consolidation within Health Care,” “Pharmacists’ Role in Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being,” and “Referral System for the Pharmacy Profession.”

New business generates good debates
Liza Chapman, PharmD, FAPhA, chair of the New Business Review Committee, presented the committee’s recommendations on eight new business items for delegate consideration and adoption. They included gluten content and labeling in medications, unit-of-use packaging, pharmacist and pharmacy personnel well-being, pharmacist qualification standards, collaborative practice agreements, expanding technicians’ roles, patient-centered care of people who inject drugs (PWID), and creating safe work and learning environments for student pharmacists, pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians.

The House felt that to adequately address pharmacist and pharmacy personnel well-being and safety the ability to step away—without retaliation—as well as create safe work and learning environments for students, pharmacists and technicians needed to have their own separate statements and not be combined as proposed by the New Business Review Committee. During the deliberations, the passion and desire to make statements on these issues won out. In addition, the House addressed policy by a federal agency regarding the definition of a pharmacist and expanded APhA policy regarding pharmacist authority and collaborative practice agreements.

Leadership transitions
At session’s end, APhA President Nicki Hilliard, PharmD, MHSA, BCNP, FAPhA, swore in Brad Tice, PharmD, MBA, FAPhA, as the incoming APhA President. The new class of Trustees was also installed. Current HOD Speaker Michael D. Hogue, PharmD, FNAP, FAPhA, is the 2019–20 APhA President-elect. T. Joseph “Joey” Mattingly II, PharmD, MBA, will take the HOD Speaker mantle for 2019–21.