ASHP InterSections ASHP InterSections

September 12, 2014

A New Provider Status Milestone: 103 Co-Sponsors!

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

I WANTED YOU TO KNOW that we have reached the critical milestone of 103 congressional co-sponsors of the provider status legislation, H.R. 4190. This is really incredible given that the bill was just introduced in March, and it speaks to the fact that members of Congress understand the roles pharmacists can and do play in caring for patients.

Further, it shows what thousands of members can do when they reach out to their elected officials to let them know what they are doing to improve patients’ lives, and how much more they could do if they were formally recognized as providers in the Social Security Act.

As I write this message, I am preparing to participate in a fundraiser that ASHP and a number of other pharmacy organizations are hosting for one of H.R. 4190’s congressional sponsors, Representative Todd Young. I plan to express to Mr. Young our continued appreciation for his leadership in support of provider status for pharmacists, and to let him know that ASHP stands behind he and his fellow co-sponsors in the November elections.

It’s been heartening to see both Democrats and Republicans coming together in equal numbers in support of this important legislation, and expressing their recognition of pharmacists as essential members of the patient care team. If your member of Congress is a co-sponsor of H.R. 4190, please use our advocacy center to send them a note of thanks and ask them to sign-on again in the new Congress.

Next week we will be taking over 125 ASHP members, including students, new practitioners, policy council members, Section and Forum leaders, Board members, staff, and others to Capitol Hill to spend the day advocating for provider status legislation. We will also be holding a virtual legislative day that will allow ASHP’s over 40,000 members to participate, and share their patient care stories and urge support for provider status legislation.

ASHP and the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition will also be running an advertisement in a prominent Capitol Hill publication thanking H.R. 4190’s original cosponsors, Reps. Young, G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and asking other members of Congress to sign on in support of the legislation. By the time the week ends we hope to have reached out to every member of Congress, which is perfect timing as they depart for their home states to finish campaigning for the November elections.

Speaking of members of Congress being home for the elections, this is the perfect time for you—their constituents—to contact them to tell your patient care story, and to ask them to support provider status legislation. ASHP has a whole host of resources on our website to help you with that outreach, and you can contact our government relations team anytime for personalized support. Also, if you haven’t done so already, please consider making a contribution to the ASHP-PAC. The PAC is a key tool to help support those members of Congress that support the vital patient care roles pharmacists play.

Thanks so much for everything you do to help bring provider status closer to reality for the patients you serve. I look forward to updating you again soon on our progress.

Best Regards,


September 11, 2014

Lessons from My Uncle: Creating Relationships Across the Continuum

Filed under: Ambulatory Care,Clinical,Current Issue,Uncategorized,What Worked for Me — Kathy Biesecker @ 4:26 pm
Far right, Daniel M. Riche, Pharm.D., advises fellow cardiometabolic clinic team members about the best medications for patients under their care.

Far right, Daniel M. Riche, Pharm.D., advises fellow cardiometabolic clinic team members about the best medications for patients under their care.

MY UNCLE CLAUDE OWNED AND RAN A PHARMACY in southern Louisiana for over 40 years. As a boy, I remember going into the pharmacy, and Uncle Claude would always say (at the top of his lungs), “Well, hair low der!” (which translates to “hello there” in English; my family is not just southern, but Cajun).

This gesture was a small outreach to his patients, intended to establish a rapport and, ultimately, develop a relationship. The best evidence of how successful my uncle was in this regard occurred on the day of his funeral.

The pharmacy was closed on a weekday for the first time in 40+ years. After the service, we drove by the pharmacy. There were so many flowers placed on its steps that it took several trips loading them onto the truck before we could even open the front door.

I’ve always tried to establish the same kinds of meaningful relationships that my uncle had with his patients. As a certified diabetes educator and in my work treating patients with all types of metabolic diseases, I see how my knowledge and experience benefits patients.

I believe that they live healthier lives because a pharmacist is involved in their care. But does anyone outside of my personal and professional circles truly know what I do every day to improve my patients’ outcomes?

Getting Outside of Our Comfort Zones

As professionals, we do an excellent job of establishing ourselves and expanding within pharmacy and our own circles. But we often don’t see the opportunities that exist to extend that influence.

After stretching our limits and relying on our relationships, there must be more than simply doing it again and again. What is next? How can we get outside of our own comfort zones and make new impacts on healthcare in general and our patients in particular?

To that effect, I recently took advantage of an opportunity to present at the Cardiometabolic Health Congress for leaders in my professional area. I will be the first pharmacist invited as a distinguished faculty to this prestigious meeting. My topic is “Integrated Management of the Complexities of Cardiometabolic Diseases: A Patient-Centric Team Approach” with a focus on pharmacist intervention.

Even though this presentation is a small step, I’m very excited about helping to further the concept of pharmacist integration. This type of high-visibility outreach serves a larger purpose of expanding the impact of pharmacists across the entire healthcare continuum. Hopefully, it will also help to strengthen our profession’s case for provider status recognition.

As pharmacists, we all have established key relationships with our patients and across healthcare teams and settings. Now I believe that we need to expand our individual footprints so that the entire profession can benefit. To that end, it’s critical to ensure that people know that you make a big difference in the outcomes of patients under your care. Shout it from the rooftops, if you need to!

By disseminating the knowledge we have and expanding our relationships, we each can help to grow the influence that pharmacy has and improve the impact of our services.

–By Daniel M. Riche, Pharm.D., associate professor of pharmacy practice and associate professor of medicine, University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, Jackson;

September 9, 2014

Achieving Provider Status One Letter at a Time

Mollie Ashe Scott, Pharm.D., BCACP, CPP

Mollie Ashe Scott, Pharm.D., BCACP, CPP, embarked on a highly effective letter-writing campaign to support provider status.

FOR MANY YEARS, I’ve been an active member of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists and ASHP. But more recently, one issue in particular—provider status for pharmacists—has propelled me to put even more energy into the group and to dive into the arena of public policy. My reason is straightforward: I believe provider status is the most important issue facing the profession of pharmacy today.

In fact, that’s precisely what I wrote last March in a letter to Congressman Mark Meadows, who represents my state’s eleventh district. The letter, co-signed by the pharmacy student body at the Eshelman School’s Asheville branch campus, urged him to support H.R. 4190.

Doing My Part to Make Provider Status a Reality

If passed into law, H.R. 4190 would allow Medicare reimbursement for clinical pharmacy services in medically underserved areas. In rural areas of western North Carolina, many clinical pharmacists already work alongside physicians to provide clinical support and augment the care provided by an overburdened cadre of primary care physicians. The same scenario is playing out in communities across the country.

The possibility that pharmacists will earn provider status is perhaps the greatest opportunity for our profession since I began practicing nearly 20 years ago. But the lack of appropriate reimbursement is standing firmly in the way. So, I wanted to do my part to make provider status a reality.

As I wrote in the letter, “I have seen firsthand the need for enhanced clinical pharmacy services in our region…. Our ability to optimize medication therapies, identify drug related problems, and prevent devastating consequences of poorly controlled chronic conditions is well documented.

“Pharmacists, in collaboration with physicians and other healthcare professionals, can improve the health of the patients they serve, and decrease health care costs by preventing and expensive negative outcomes.”

That letter (which we sent to other members of the state’s congressional delegation in addition to Congressman Meadows) was only one part of what has become a concerted, statewide effort to reach out to our representatives in Congress and to others with influence on Capitol Hill.

The possibility that pharmacists will earn provider status is perhaps the greatest opportunity for our profession since I began practicing nearly 20 years ago.

In April, a second letter written by William J. Hitch, Pharm.D., BCPS, CPP, director of pharmacotherapy at the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) and signed by pharmacists, physicians, and other healthcare professionals at MAHEC, and urging support for H.R. 4190 was sent to the North Carolina congressional delegation. This strategy made sense for us because one of MAHEC’s goals is ensuring that there are enough primary healthcare providers in North Carolina’s rural areas.

Persuading Other Colleagues to Get Involved

I also belong to an informal group of about 20 pharmacists who meet monthly. One of our goals was to win Congressman Meadows’ support for H.R. 4190. At the end of one meeting, we charged everyone with a task: Identify three or four colleagues and persuade them to write to Congressman Meadows, explain the importance of the bill and ask for his support.

In June, he became the second North Carolina representative to announce his support for the bill. (The first was Congressman G.K. Butterfield, who was one of the bill’s original cosponsors.)

I’ve also learned that many of my colleagues want to help but don’t always know how to go about it. We’re trying to make it easy for people to join our ranks and pitch in. For example, one of our local pharmacy residents developed a flyer that we’re distributing statewide describing how pharmacists can get out the message about H.R. 4190 and continue building support for the bill.

Physician support is also important. We’re working to raise awareness about the legislation among members the Western Carolina Medical Society and hope to persuade them to join us by writing their own letter of support. Next on the agenda: the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians, whose backing would be invaluable.

This is what a true grassroots effort looks like. It starts at a local level and, with time, commitment, and a lot of work spreads and grows across the state, the region, and the country until a tipping point is reached. We’ve made tremendous progress, but there’s a long way to go and a lot of work ahead.

–By Mollie Ashe Scott, Pharm.D., BCACP, CPP, Regional Associate Dean, Division of Pharmacy Practice and Experiential Education, University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Want to know more about how to get involved in ASHP’s efforts to achieve provider status? Check out the latest news and resources available on ASHP’s website!



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