ALEXANDRIA, Va. — During this paramount election year, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ grassroots advocacy program — NACDS RxImpact — continues to demonstrate the importance of pharmacy advocates engaging on behalf of community pharmacy, NACDS has announced.
The NACDS RxImpact Pharmacy Tour program is having a banner year in 2012, NACDS stated, boasting dozens of tours and meetings with NACDS member companies and lawmakers. The program offers a firsthand opportunity for lawmakers and their staffs to see the important role that community pharmacy plays in the healthcare delivery system in providing quality patient care and helping to reduce drug costs.
So far this year, NACDS members have conducted 49 pharmacy tours and NACDS member headquarter meetings with lawmakers in 25 states — a more than 80% increase in tours from 2011. Members of Congress in Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Ohio, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia and more than a dozen other states had an opportunity to visit an NACDS-member pharmacy in their community to learn about the multitude of services that pharmacists provide for patients.
The NACDS RxImpact Pharmacy Tour program has hosted more than 100 tours since the program’s inception in 2009.
Lawmakers received flu shots, participated in health screenings, learned about the processes involved in dispensing prescription medication and witnessed the pharmacist’s ability to help patients understand the importance of taking their medications, which improves health and reduces healthcare costs.
Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, summarized his experience on his Facebook page, putting a name and face on the value of community pharmacy, “Enjoyed visit to West Jordan Shopko this morning. Pharmacist Ryan Swensen and his team shared important information about use of technology to improve safe, efficient delivery of prescriptions to patients.”
“We hear countless positive anecdotes from lawmakers who come away from the experience saying, ‘Wow! I didn’t realize all the things that a pharmacist can do to help patients stay healthy,’” stated NACDS President and CEO Steve Anderson. “Pharmacy tours truly are a window into a day in the life of a community pharmacist, who truly is a healthcare partner for patients.”
In addition to the NACDS RxImpact Pharmacy Tour program, there are a number of ways for pharmacy advocates to get involved in support of pro-patient, pro-pharmacy policies.
The NACDS RxImpact Votes initiative could not be more timely, with less than six weeks until Election Day on Nov. 6. This program is designed to help energize pharmacy advocates to participate in the election process. Its three-pronged approach provides advocates a road map to register to vote, volunteer on a campaign to build candidate relationships before and after the election, and vote on Election Day.
The NACDS RxIMPACT Training Program offers face-to-face training to help advocates understand how to effectively communicate with Members of Congress. In addition, this program can be accredited for continuing education credit.
The NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill brings more than 300 pharmacy advocates to Washington, D.C. to educate members of Congress about pro-patient, pro-pharmacy policies. Pharmacists, pharmacy operators, pharmacy school deans, pharmacy students and other advocates attend this two-day program that includes meetings with lawmakers and their staff and a legislative briefing on key health policy issues. The next NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill will take place March 13 to 14, 2013.
Two programs designed specifically for the next generation of pharmacists — pharmacy students — emphasize the important role they play in the policymaking process. The NACDS RxImpact “U” Network and “U” Academy both provide pharmacy students with the tools and resources they need to get involved in the political and policy process.
“There are so many opportunities to engage with lawmakers on behalf of community pharmacy through the NACDS RxImpact program,” stated Anderson. “And it will be ever-more critical for pharmacy advocates to get involved, as Presidential and congressional elections are just around the corner. Whether it’s a pharmacy tour, training program or meeting with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., advocates do have an impact on political and policy landscapes, and it’s more important than ever to help educate policy makers on the impact of community pharmacy on healthcare delivery system and patient care.”