Former HHS secretaries to discuss healthcare reform at NCPA Annual Convention

ALEXANDRIA, Va. An industry group catering to the nation's independent pharmacies has tapped two former Health and Human Services secretaries to speak at its annual convention and trade expo.

Michael Leavitt and Donna Shalala will discuss healthcare reform -- and provide an insider's view as the former leaders of the department where some of the most important healthcare reform implementation decisions will be made -- at the National Community Pharmacists Association's 112th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

NCPA added that Leavitt and Shalala will speak at the second general session and government affairs forum. The session is scheduled for the morning of Oct. 25.

Leavitt and Shalala both had extensive careers at HHS. Leavitt is credited for successfully implementing the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit during his four years at the government agency, and created national strategies and implemented plans for several major components of the healthcare system, including health information systems, personalized medicine, pandemic preparedness and medical emergency response.

Meanwhile, Shalala was the longest-serving HHS secretary (8 years), during which time she directed the welfare-reform process, made health insurance available to an estimated 3.3 million children through the approval of all State Children's Health Insurance Programs, raised child immunization rates to the highest levels in history, led major reforms of the FDA's drug approval process and food safety system, revitalized the National Institutes of Health and directed a major management and policy reform of Medicare.

"With the government becoming the largest purchaser of health care/pharmacy services, we think there is no one better to offer the roadmap for what to expect during healthcare-reform implementation than these two former heads of HHS," said NCPA president Joseph Harmison.

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