Provider status: Speaking with one voice

APhA works to unite stakeholders in push for provider status

Leaders in pharmacy are collaborating on developing a set of principles for the profession to have a united voice in aiming to achieve provider status.

Developing broad-based principles that everyone can agree on will help advance a multiyear, multifaceted, multimillion-dollar effort to seek increased access for patients to pharmacists’ clinical services through gaining recognition for pharmacists’ role as health care providers.

As part of this effort, APhA has announced a $1.5 million investment by the APhA Board of Trustees.

“The pharmacy profession is coming together on principles to achieve provider status and to integrate pharmacists within developing health benefit delivery models,” Steven T. Simenson, BSPharm, FAPhA, FACA, FACVP, incoming APhA President and Chair of the Provider Status Task Force, said in the Association’s January 29 news release on the $1.5 million allocation. “The ultimate goal is a consensus-based approach for advocacy and legislative efforts, which increases our chances of increasing patient access to the clinical care services we can provide.”

Bringing stakeholders together

As a step forward in finalizing those principles to guide the profession’s advocacy efforts, the half-day session Provider Status for Pharmacists: Creating a National Action Plan was held March 1 at the 2013 APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition in Los Angeles.

The session—cosponsored by APhA, the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA), the University of Southern California (USC) School of Pharmacy, and the California Pharmacists Association—aimed to bring together leaders from diverse pharmacy organizations toward speaking with one voice as the profession pursues provider status.

The goals of the March 1 meeting were to discuss a national action plan to achieve pharmacist integration into value-based compensation systems; review and discuss principles drafted by the national pharmacy stakeholders group; and identify ways that stakeholders can support and contribute to the national effort so that pharmacy has a united front.

“The development of broadly supported principles and a national action plan are essential for success. Coordination is needed between the state associations, national organizations, and the pharmacy community as a whole,” said Rebecca P. Snead, BSPharm, NASPA Executive Vice President & CEO. “Activity must happen on all levels—state, federal, and in the private sectors—in order for patients to realize the full benefit from pharmacist-provided patient care services.”

“The APhA meeting in Los Angeles presented us with a tremendous opportunity for all pharmacy stakeholders to come together at this critical time for pharmacists to realize provider status as health reform takes shape,” said R. Pete Vanderveen, PhD, BSPharm, Dean of the USC School of Pharmacy.

Professionwide effort

“APhA is committed to working with pharmacy, patient, and other health care organizations on this initiative and to that end has several initiatives under way right now,” APhA Executive Vice President and CEO Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA, said in his January 29 CEO Blog post on “However, we know our financial commitment will not be nearly enough without broad support from within and outside the profession.”

On January 30, the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners—whose members are part of the national pharmacy stakeholder group—had its quarterly meeting. “Significant discussion focused on opportunities and models to value the pharmacist’s role and inclusion in evolving health care delivery teams and systems,” Menighan wrote in a February 1 CEO Blog post. “New models may allow us to provide the care we are trained to provide, but we have to be on the team. It will take unified messaging from the profession, examples of pharmacists making an impact today, and the involvement of all pharmacists.”

Meanwhile, the National Community Pharmacists Association announced its federal and state legislative priorities in a February 13 news release. They include expanding the role of the pharmacist in health care through coordinated care models, as a first step toward gaining provider status.