Insurance rollout shows pharmacies and NACDS in action

One of the principles of association leadership says that an association should reflect the membership. Hopefully, NACDS’ approach to member service has resembled the can-do spirit of community pharmacy during the launch of exchange-based insurance. 
We hope you found helpful the series of email updates that NACDS distributed from December 20 through January 2. These memoranda summarized extensive work to help smooth the transition – a transition that will continue into the weeks and months ahead.
NACDS’ updates described frequent meetings and conference calls we had throughout the holidays with representatives of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the White House, where a two-way dialogue was established to better serve our members. During those meetings – as well as in official comments  – NACDS urged consumer communications to encourage the newly ensured to take certain steps to limit confusion when they visited a pharmacy or other provider for the first time. NACDS also urged the accessibility of call centers and of plan representatives during the transition, and made the case for additional steps to improve operational efficiency. We were able to share with you consumer fact sheets and resources for pharmacists, which were made available by the agencies in response to requests by NACDS and others.
In addition, as the media prepared to cover the January 1 launch date, NACDS worked with reporters to help them understand the issues associated with the transition.
As was the case during the first days of the exchange-based insurance launch, NACDS hopes you will share insights about systemic problems that may arise with the adjudication of claims. Chris Smith , NACDS’ director of federal public policy, is serving as the point of contact for this information.
From the beginning of enrollment under the Affordable Care Act to the recent launch of coverage, NACDS has emphasized that the amazing work of community pharmacies is shining through again – just as it has numerous times before, such as the rollout of Medicare Part D, the response to H1N1, a consistent and concerted national vaccination campaign, and the providing of necessary goods and services during natural disasters, to name a few. It is important that the decision makers in Washington and in the states understand the vital role of community pharmacies in fostering public health, and understand the importance of empowering and sustaining that role in crunch time and in times of “normalcy.”
Community pharmacies ARE the face of neighborhood healthcare, and NACDS is committed to living up to the trust and to the value of your company and of this entire industry.

Steve Anderson is the president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

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