ASHP InterSections ASHP InterSections

March 17, 2021

Upcoming ASHP Events Focus on Innovation in Pharmacy Practice

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

Dear Colleagues,

This past year was like no other. The challenges that our country has and continues to face are unprecedented. Yet, the relentless dedication and commitment I have seen from pharmacy professionals during the pandemic are valiant and inspirational.

As we step forward into 2021, ASHP remains committed to supporting the incredible work that our members are doing on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also working hard to provide the latest innovative approaches, tools, and resources to support patients across the full spectrum of medication use. I want to share some important new initiatives that ASHP created to help move pharmacy practice forward.

ASHP is pleased to announce the upcoming ASHP Specialty Pharmacy State of Practice in Hospitals and Health Systems – Future Directions Summit. The summit, scheduled for Feb. 1-4, will bring together more than 100 hospital and health-system pharmacy professionals, nurses, payers, and others to develop recommendations that advance patient outcomes through specialty pharmacy designated medications. The invitation-only event will include Q&As with speakers, virtual breakout groups, and much discussion and debate. It will address measures involved in diagnosis, medication management, payment, and reimbursement, as well as the impact on affordability, accessibility, and outcomes related to specialty pharmacy. Outcomes and recommendations from the summit will be published in a future issue of AJHP and support the development of upcoming ASHP educational content and tools.

Another critical undertaking, under the umbrella of our ASHP Innovation Center, is our new partnership with the American Medical Association to create a series of six Pharmacogenomics Virtual Summits focused on exploring the potential of pharmacogenomics-based selection, dosing, and monitoring of medications to improve health outcomes. The first summit, which takes place on Feb. 9, explores the pharmacogenomics landscape. Leading experts from pharmacy and medicine will introduce pharmacogenomics and the value it can bring to patient care, examine its benefits, and discuss the economic and health equity aspects of pharmacogenomics. Registration for the Pharmacogenomics Virtual Summit Series is currently open. The summits will run through March 18 with topics that include the current state of pharmacogenomics, the integration and implementation of pharmacogenomics into practice, clinical guidelines, and adoption drivers. I encourage you to register for this innovative and informative series to learn how pharmacogenomics can bring value to your practice.

I also wanted to remind our members that the application deadline is quickly approaching for a competitive grant program from the ASHP Foundation in collaboration with the ASHP Innovation Center to support projects that demonstrate the impact that health information technology and digital transformation can have on safe and effective medication use. Applications, due on Feb. 4, are open to interprofessional healthcare teams with a pharmacist as the principal investigator. Be sure to also check out our new ASHP Innovation Center infographic to learn more about the center’s mission, goals, and resources.

Additionally, the first episode of “Season 2” of our ASHP Leadership podcast will be published on Feb. 1. February is Black History Month, and in this episode, I discuss the preliminary recommendations from the ASHP Task Force on Racial Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with ASHP President Tom Johnson and Paul Walker, chair of the task force. We talk about the inclusive process used to develop the draft recommendations by incorporating feedback from members and how the recommendations will continue to advance ASHP’s strong commitment to addressing the range of current and historical issues facing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in ASHP’s membership and the profession of pharmacy. The preliminary recommendations will be presented to the ASHP Board soon, and we will post the final recommendations on ashp.org once they are approved. I hope you join us for this important discussion on our ASHP Official Podcast.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention ASHP’s latest innovative COVID-19 resources and tools. Earlier this month, ASHP released a new resource guide on the security, cold-chain storage, and handling of COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The guide offers current information and guidance from the FDA emergency use authorization letters and Healthcare Provider Fact Sheets from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, and general best practices from other reputable sources. I encourage you to review this important tool, which will be updated regularly.

Other valuable resources from our dedicated COVID-19 vaccine webpage and COVID-19 Resource Center include ASHP’s Assessment of Evidence for COVID-19 Related TreatmentsASHP COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Tracking Table, and the COVID-19 Vaccine Assessment Tool.

Finally, I invite you to join our COVID-19: Immunizing Efforts From Three States webinar on Feb. 10, when Brian Bothwell, director of pharmacy at San Juan Health in Monticello, Utah, Mohammad (Mo) Kharbat, vice president of pharmacy services and health research at SSM Health – Wisconsin Region, and Sarah Stephens, system medication safety officer at the HonorHealth Corporate Office in Scottsdale, Arizona, share their experiences with vaccine delivery, patient education, administration, and follow up.

ASHP remains committed to supporting you in every way we can during this pandemic, and through all you do in support of advancing healthcare. Thank you for being a member of ASHP and for everything that you do for your patients and our profession.

Sincerely,

Paul

ASHP Marks 1-Year Anniversary of Pandemic with Efforts to Combat Vaccine Hesitancy

Dear Colleagues,

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

One year ago, the World Health Organization officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Throughout the ensuing 12 months, our members have consistently stepped forward with relentless perseverance and dedication to provide exceptional patient care on the front lines, often facing immense challenges posed by evolving conditions and uncertain outcomes. ASHP staff, working remotely from home and without missing a beat, supported our members and all healthcare providers by developing evidence-based resources and tools to identify solutions and share knowledge to improve patient care.

Today, we stand confident knowing that we have three vaccine options authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration, offering a real sense of hope that the U.S. population could reach herd immunity if efforts to vaccinate the population continue and the demand for the vaccines remains high.

On Friday, ASHP issued a strong statement urging the widespread use and equitable allocation of all three vaccines, based on a review of the scientific evidence available. ASHP also published two new resources to help individuals counter myths about Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine and provide information on optimal settings for using each of the authorized vaccines.

These new resources are just the latest offerings from ASHP, which has been a leader since the outset of this global health crisis, providing needed information, networking, and resources to support our members and all healthcare professionals address the impact of the pandemic and plan for short- and long-term recovery efforts.

ASHP’s efforts demonstrate our ongoing commitment to supporting our members and their patients and also signal just how far we have come in our fight against this virus. In the early days of the pandemic, the need for pharmacist engagement on the front lines of care quickly became clear as healthcare professionals struggled to manage shortages of drugs and medical supplies. There was a need for clarity about potential treatments for COVID-19, such as hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, remdesivir, monoclonal antibodies, corticosteroids, and other medications. One of the first resources we created in March 2020 was ASHP’s Assessment of Evidence for COVID-19 Related Treatments to help practitioners better understand proposed treatments for COVID-19. This free resource, which continues to be updated at least twice monthly, has been downloaded more than 56,800 times since its initial publication.

The evidence table was just one of ASHP’s many resources that were made open access and free to any healthcare professional who needed it during the spring and summer months of 2020. Others included ASHP’s Critical Care Board Certification Resources, access to our AHFS drug database, and more. Through these actions, ASHP made an enormous amount of educational materials and resources available free of charge to support our collective national response to the pandemic.

Real-time knowledge-sharing was and still is a top priority today. We knew that it was critical for pharmacists in early surge cities to share what they learned to help prepare their colleagues across the country for the inevitable patient surges in their communities and states. To share information as quickly as possible, we developed a free ongoing webinar series dedicated to COVID-19, which continues to provide valuable perspective and intelligence on how pharmacists are responding to the pandemic.

We have held 53 webinars so far, with more than 24,000 total attendees. We have also used our popular @ASHPOfficial podcast to share critical information about COVID-19. Since last March, ASHP has produced 81 episodes dedicated to the pandemic with more than 81,400 downloads. In addition to being featured in webinars, ASHP news articles, and ASHP podcasts, our members and ASHP staff have served as expert sources in the media with coverage in more than 3,900 COVID-19 stories generating in excess of 7 billion media impressions.

Communication among pharmacy professionals and other healthcare providers continues to be a crucial element in fighting this pandemic. Our COVID-19 Connect Community, open to ASHP members and free to all healthcare providers, now has more than 77,500 users with more than 2,300 unique discussion threads. This remains a very active resource where users can ask questions, receive answers, share experiences, post guidance, receive updates, and learn best practices to support patients and each other.

These examples are only a handful of ways ASHP continues to support our members during this ongoing health crisis. The full scope of ASHP’s COVID-19 response is highlighted in an infographic.

Today, countless ASHP members are leading and participating in a historic national vaccination effort that centers on vaccines that did not exist a year ago. As trusted members of the healthcare community, pharmacists are working with patients to overcome vaccine hesitancy and misinformation issues. We believe pharmacists, who are among the most trusted professionals in the U.S., have and will continue to play an instrumental role in supporting our communities through these challenging times. To this end, ASHP recently introduced a Change.org petition calling on the White House to ensure pharmacy professionals are represented in the administration’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. We believe representation on this task force by a qualified pharmacist will be critical to addressing the persistent health inequities in communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The accessibility and expertise of pharmacists make them an asset and essential source of information for the public, particularly in medically underserved areas.

If you haven’t already, please sign the petition to add your voice to the cause. If you’ve already signed, please consider sharing it with friends and family and across social media using #PharmacyFrontline.

Reflecting on this tumultuous year, we will never forget the lives lost and the toll this pandemic has taken on our families and colleagues. We will also never forget the bravery, kindness, and unyielding dedication of pharmacy professionals serving on the front lines. I invite you to view this video where some of our members reflect on their most poignant moments from the last year.

As the vaccine rollout continues and pharmacists continue to play vital roles in the effort, ASHP, as always, remains dedicated to supporting our members. One year in, these remain stressful and unpredictable times, and we are all susceptible to burnout. It is critically important that healthcare professionals on the front lines take a moment to check in with themselves, colleagues, and loved ones. ASHP is proud to offer many resources on our website to help individuals recognize burnout symptoms and practice self-care techniques.

We are so very proud of the resilience and fortitude of the pharmacy community. While 2021 promises progress and hopefully a return to some level of normalcy, we know that there remains much important work ahead. I can’t thank you enough for your ongoing support of ASHP and all that you do for your patients and our profession.

Sincerely,

Paul

November 30, 2020

ASHP’s Midyear Clinical Meeting is Unstoppable

Dear Colleagues,

The 55th Annual Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition is about to kick off! We have a wonderful week ahead packed with world-class educational programming, exciting speakers, and opportunities to connect with colleagues and enrich your practice. This year’s theme is “Unstoppable,” and more than 23,000 attendees will have the opportunity to come together, Dec. 6 –10, on our virtual platform to knowledge share, network, and experience the largest gathering of pharmacists in the world in a new and unique way. Registration will remain open through Dec. 10, so there is still time to register and take advantage of everything the meeting has to offer.

We are delighted to welcome our keynote speaker, award-winning actor, producer, director, and COVID-19 survivor, Tom Hanks, on the morning of Monday, Dec. 7. We are also very pleased to welcome Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, joining us on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Please note that these special events will only be available for viewing during the scheduled session days and times. You don’t want to miss these extraordinary speakers.

The 2020 Midyear also features:

  • More than 175 hours of continuing education
  • More than 4,600 posters
  • 1,328 booths in the Residency Showcase (29% increase over 2019)
  • 132 exhibitors/booths

The Midyear Clinical Meeting is the longest, continually running clinical pharmacy meeting in the world. This year, against the backdrop of a global pandemic, ASHP promises to bring you an unstoppable Midyear, offering the most timely and relevant content to support contemporary practice and the best possible patient care.

Our 55th meeting brings together our profession’s best and brightest subject matter experts who will share their knowledge about current pharmacy practice in an ever-changing healthcare landscape.

The distribution and administration of the anticipated COVID-19 vaccines are top of mind and on Monday, Dec. 7, ASHP will hold the first of two late-breaking COVID-19 vaccine sessions. Monday’s session will focus on clinical considerations. A second session will be held on Wednesday, with a focus on operational considerations. In addition to the late-breaking vaccine sessions, we have 18 relevant and informative sessions that will keep you up-to-date on the latest developments related to COVID-19 response and recovery.

Monday will also feature a special Town Hall hosted by Paul C. Walker, Pharm.D., FASHP, chair of the ASHP Task Force on Racial Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Dr. Walker will present the Task Force’s draft recommendations for new and enhanced efforts ASHP should take to address issues of racial diversity, equity, and inclusion impacting Black, Indigenous and People of Color. The Task Force will consider feedback from the Town Hall and other channels in preparing a final report and recommendations to submit to the ASHP Board of Directors in January 2021.

This year’s Midyear marks the first anniversary of the ASHP Innovation Center. The center seeks to elevate the vital role hospital and health-system pharmacy practitioners play in new and emerging science, and position pharmacy practitioners as influencers in developing systems that advance patient safety and quality care. This year’s Midyear offers a wealth of programming dedicated to implementing and using innovative strategies and solutions to further pharmacy practice, including two critical on-demand sessions: Innovations in Drug Information Practice and Research; and Advanced and Innovative Roles in the Specialty Pharmacy Setting. Later in the week, on Thursday, Dec. 10, we have a session highlighting the pros and cons of new technologies that have improved patient care safety and efficiency.

As part of the ASHP Innovation Center, the ASHP Foundation is currently accepting applications for a competitive grant program to support projects that demonstrate the impact of optimizing health information technology and digital transformation that enhance safe and effective use of medications. The grant program is available for interprofessional healthcare teams with a pharmacist as principal investigator. The deadline for applications is Feb. 4, 2021.

I encourage attendees to check out the ASHP Midyear Virtual Posters. With our virtual platform, you can review poster PDFs and audio clips summarizing each project. Authors will be available for real-time video Q & A chats alongside their virtual posters.

These are just a handful of the highlights from the largest gathering of pharmacists in the world. Be sure to follow us on social media @ASHPOfficial and #ASHP2020 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and look for News & Views, the official Midyear newspaper, which will be delivered digitally to all attendees via a daily e-mail. Also, be sure to check out ashptv.com for daily interviews, member stories, and content.

The success of this unstoppable Midyear Clinical Meeting is due to the tremendous work of hundreds of ASHP members and staff, and we are pleased to showcase their efforts and share this event with you.

Finally, I would like to wish all of our members a safe and healthy holiday season. Thank you for being a member of ASHP and for all you do for your patients and our profession during these very challenging times.

Sincerely,

Paul

October 26, 2020

ASHP Continues to Expand Engagement Opportunities and Advocacy Impact

Filed under: From the CEO — Amy Erickson @ 9:05 pm

Dear Colleagues,

ASHP is always striving to develop the best tools, resources, advocacy, and education so our members can provide optimal care to their patients and grow, develop, and advance their pharmacy careers.

I would like to highlight a few recent examples of how ASHP supports leadership development and facilitates meaningful connections so that our members can continue to thrive in today’s rapidly evolving healthcare landscape.

Opportunities in our Newest ASHP Sections

Recently ASHP launched the Section of Community Pharmacy Practitioners, providing a distinct membership home within ASHP for pharmacists, student pharmacists, pharmacy residents, and pharmacy technicians who practice in community/ambulatory pharmacy-based settings and who are involved in direct patient care, leadership and management, and implementation of advanced practice models and education. The new Community Pharmacy Section is currently accepting applications for the inaugural Executive Committee, which will play a pivotal leadership role in shaping the future of this important new membership group. This is an exciting new opportunity for ASHP members to further advance care at the community level, and to help improve continuity of care for patients in and across all patient care settings. Executive Committee members will provide major leadership, guidance, and advice to ASHP on ways to better meet the needs of community-based practitioners and leaders. The deadline for applications is Nov. 2. I encourage you to apply as we hope to further engage you in ASHP!

This week is National Health Education Week. I’m pleased to share that the Executive Committee for our recently launched Section of Pharmacy Educators will be conducting its first meeting on Friday. Pharmacy educators have played critical roles in ASHP for many years. The idea to create this new section came directly from our pharmacy educator members and reflects ASHP’s strong desire to further support them in developing more seamless and bidirectional communication and engagement between pharmacy education and hospitals and health systems. The Executive Committee is chaired by Dr. Marie Chisolm-Burns, Dean and Distinguished Professor of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy and Professor of Surgery in the College of Medicine, who will lead this initial meeting to help establish the tone and strategic direction for the section. I am looking forward to attending the meeting and engaging with this impressive new group. I am confident that the section will get off to a strong start.

Recent Engagement Opportunities

ASHP’s virtual Conference for Pharmacy Leaders, celebrating a milestone silver anniversary, concluded earlier this week. ASHP held the first conference 25 years ago with 150 attendees to emphasize leadership development for the profession. This year’s conference was an overwhelming success, bringing together 500 attendees with strong representation from hospital and health-system pharmacy administration and leadership residents. Attendees participated in virtual roundtable discussions and breakout sessions to connect, strategize, and exchange ideas on telehealth, women in pharmacy leadership, COVID-19 business recovery, and multi-hospital pharmacy services. Our keynote speakers, Deb Boelkes, M.B.A., B.S., and Bryan K. William, DM, shared leadership strategies and solutions that dovetail with ASHP President Tom Johnson’s inaugural themes of transformation, servant leadership, and acting on your truth. Thank you to the current and aspiring leaders who attended this exceptional event.

Our virtual National Pharmacy Preceptors Conference kicks off tomorrow. The agenda is rich in education and networking opportunities to help attendees stay current with the latest accreditation standards. If you haven’t already registered for the National Pharmacy Preceptors Conference, there is still time. I encourage you to take advantage of the many networking opportunities, training tips, and advice that have been developed to help preceptors of residents and students learn and apply best practices.

Rounding out ASHP’s efforts to provide members with leadership and engagement opportunities is our inaugural ASHP Pharmacy Executive Leadership Alliance (PELA) Summit, which will be held next week. ASHP created PELA earlier this year as a new engagement opportunity to provide distinctive, interactive, and highly productive networking, strategic planning, and professional development activities for pharmacy executives in complex hospital and health-system settings. PELA provides a venue to address the increasing demands for integrated strategic decision-making to ensure we are advancing medication use that is optimal, safe, and effective for all people all of the time across our nation’s multi-hospital health systems and integrated health networks. More than 170 pharmacy executives representing multi-hospital health systems and major hospitals and academic medical centers are participating in the event, which is focused on business recovery and rebuilding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ASHP continues to create new engagement opportunities to meet the needs of our members who hold a wide array of leadership positions within their organizations. Whether you are a clinician, preceptor, mentor, new manager, or seasoned pharmacy executive, ASHP has a wealth of exciting new programs and opportunities for service, networking, knowledge-sharing, and personal development. We hope you continue to take advantage of these exceptional opportunities. Be on the lookout for new and innovative programming as we continue to enhance our offerings in support of our diverse membership.

The Latest ASHP Advocacy Efforts

ASHP is engaged in a wide array of advocacy on your behalf. I would like to highlight a few key recent ASHP efforts. ASHP called on policymakers to provide transparency into the quality of drug manufacturing as part of our legislative objectives developed with the American Hospital Association, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology to address drug shortages. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced new programs that focus on drug manufacturing quality. These programs align with our legislative objectives, and we applaud the FDA for launching these programs to improve the transparency of drug manufacturing quality.

ASHP and our partners — 340B Health, America’s Essential Hospitals, the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Catholic Health Association, and the Children’s Hospital Association — are advocating on your behalf to support the 340B Drug Pricing Program. We launched a digital advertising campaign opposing pharmaceutical manufacturers’ actions that threaten to undermine this program. The campaign targets policymakers and has been viewed 8.6 million times. ASHP is also coordinating with our partners to promote messaging on social media about how 340B benefits hospitals, health centers, clinics, and your patients using the hashtag #Protect340B.

We’re also continuing to engage on multiple fronts to advocate for an effective vaccine rollout plan. Most recently, we shared key insights from ASHP’s Principles for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution, Allocation, and Mass Immunization during Friday’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) National Vaccine Advisory Committee public meeting. We requested that details related to the storage and handling of any approved vaccine(s) be made available as early as possible to assist our members in planning for Phase 1 allocation and distribution.

Tomorrow, we are participating in HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s Operation Warp Speed COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Strategy briefing for a discussion on distribution logistics, security, and planning assumptions related to the COVID-19 vaccine. We look forward to providing you updates on that briefing. We also submitted comments and will be attending the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting tomorrow to provide guidance as the agency continues to plan for the approval and authorization of COVID-19 vaccine(s).

We are actively working with many other leading healthcare organizations as well to support clear guidance and leadership on vaccine preparedness efforts. Most recently, we united with 19 other health organizations to form the National Associations’ COVID Vaccine Leadership Council to complement the efforts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HHS, and Operation Warp Speed, and support state-level efforts. Additionally, we continue to update our dedicated COVID-19 Vaccine webpage, which includes tools, resources, and other support that I hope you will leverage as we work to support you through this public health crisis.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this week is National Pharmacy Week. Please view a short video message from me. I am so proud of the extraordinary responsiveness, resilience, and camaraderie shown by ASHP members during this extremely challenging year.

Thank you for being a member of ASHP and for everything you do for your patients and our profession during these very challenging times.

Sincerely,

Paul

May 15, 2020

ASHP Launches New Section of Pharmacy Educators and Continues to Advocate for Pharmacists During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dear Colleagues,

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

AS YOU KNOW, ASHP staff and members have been working tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic to support our members and all healthcare providers to enhance the safe use of medications, deliver quality care, and enhance patient outcomes. This work has served as continued reinforcement of our long-standing commitment to supporting pharmacists across the continuum of care and elevating the vital role that pharmacists play as patient care providers. In our 78-year history, we have continually supported heightened standards and training for pharmacy professionals regardless of practice setting.

In this vein, I am pleased to share that the ASHP Board of Directors has approved the creation of a new membership section that will further strengthen and significantly enhance ASHP’s leadership in the preparation and training of the pharmacy workforce. The new ASHP Section of Pharmacy Educators will provide a unique and distinct membership home and leadership voice within ASHP for pharmacy school faculty, deans, and preceptors who are involved in the training of pharmacists.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how quickly healthcare and the pharmacy profession can change, and how critical education and training are to meet evolving patient care demands. Building on our existing world-class educational offerings and professional development expertise, ASHP is well-positioned to support educators in all settings, preparing the next generation of practitioners to provide the highest level of interprofessional patient care in highly dynamic and complex environments. This new section will play a key role in ensuring we can provide our educators with an even greater voice as we work together to face the immense healthcare challenges of today and tomorrow.

ASHP President-elect Tom Johnson will appoint an executive committee in August to lead the section’s work, and the committee will begin meeting virtually this fall. ASHP members interested in serving on the section’s leadership should submit an application by July 24.

Support for Pharmacy Residents

Over the past several weeks, I have shared information on ASHP’s efforts to support residents and our accredited residency programs facing uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many members and residency programs tell us about ongoing issues, including the potential impact of licensing exam cancellations prompted by stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements as well as financial challenges faced by their hospitals and health systems. In response to these concerns, on Monday, ASHP’s Commission on Credentialing and Board of Directors approved an extension of the licensure requirement for residents until January 1, 2021. This action, for the 2020–21 residency year only, temporarily waives the requirement that residents be licensed for two-thirds of the residency year (e.g., a July 1 residency start normally requires licensure by November 1). Our Accreditation Services team, through our partners at the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, continues to monitor pandemic-related effects on residencies and will take any necessary future actions to alleviate burdens caused by delays in testing or licensure. In the meantime, ASHP will do everything it can to ensure the maximum amount of flexibility to our accredited programs during these extremely challenging times. If programs or others have questions, please reach out to Janet Silvester, vice president of Accreditation Services, or Stephen Ford, director of Residency Accreditation Services, for assistance.

Taking ASHP Meetings Virtual

The impact of COVID-19 has extended beyond our hospitals and health systems and challenged us to think differently when “business as usual” is no longer possible. Public health and safety measures are likely to remain in place in some form for months to come. In response to this changing landscape, ASHP announced on Wednesday that we will be moving three important fall events to virtual forums.

Policy Week, which includes our annual Legislative Day on Capitol Hill, will become a virtual experience in September. ASHP’s National Pharmacy Preceptors Conference and Conference for Pharmacy Leaders will take place in October as virtual events. Watch for forthcoming programming details and registration information about these valuable meetings. We remain committed to leveraging technology solutions to deliver the dynamic, high-quality educational content and professional development experiences our members expect from us.

One of the first ASHP events affected by COVID-19 was our Summer Meetings & Exhibition, initially planned for the first week of June in Seattle. Instead of gathering there, we are offering a free series of educational “Summer Sessions” at the end of June, featuring select content from the ASHP 2020 Summer Meetings as well as sessions on the latest COVID-19 updates. These sessions will be open to all practitioners, regardless of ASHP membership status. Continuing education credits will be available to participants. Stay tuned to ASHP’s NewsLink, social media channels, and other communications for additional information about these Summer Sessions.

Remdesivir Resources and Advocacy

Since my last blog, there has been promising news on the efficacy of remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for remdesivir to speed access to the investigational antiviral — the first to show promise against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Subsequently, a remdesivir monograph was published in AHFS Drug Information. As a reminder, ASHP has opened access to AHFS DI to all healthcare professionals for a limited time with the username ahfs@ashp.org and password “covid-19.”

Our AHFS drug information staff continue to update ASHP’s Assessment of Evidence for COVID-19-Related Treatments. The document outlines evidence about remdesivir, supportive therapies, and other medications used to treat patients with COVID-19. SafeMedication.com, ASHP’s consumer-friendly medication information resource, is an excellent place for patients to learn more about remdesivir.

We also held a live webinar this week describing the early use of remdesivir for COVID-19 patients. The second part of the webinar series, scheduled for May 20, will share clinical experiences in using remdesivir and a discussion of clinical trial results by the Nebraska Medical Center–Nebraska Medicine pharmacy team. Recorded versions of ASHP’s COVID-19 webinars are available for those unable to attend the live sessions.

While remdesivir shows promise in early studies, access to medication is of great concern to pharmacists across the country. Last week, I sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence urging the administration to make public its process for determining which hospitals will receive allocations of remdesivir, communicate information about the allocations to all hospitals, and provide information on the timeline and details for the commercial availability and distribution of remdesivir. We also asked the administration to coordinate with the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow hospitals the flexibility to reallocate product to meet changing needs.

Our letter was extensively quoted in an Associated Press article picked up by The New York Times — a testament to ASHP’s commitment to being a voice for our profession and leading national efforts to optimize medication use, improve patient safety, and advance clinical pharmacy practice.

At the urging of ASHP and others, last weekend, HHS announced that state health departments will distribute remdesivir to appropriate hospitals in their states. HHS noted that “state and local health departments have the greatest insight into community-level needs in the COVID-19 response, including appropriate distribution of a treatment in limited supply.” We encourage ASHP members who need remdesivir for their patients to contact their state health departments.

ASHP’s Promise to Support the Essential Role of Pharmacists

I wanted to highlight ASHP’s advocacy on behalf of the vital role pharmacists play in the COVID-19 response. Last week, Rep. Carolyn Maloney introduced the Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act (H.R. 6720). Unfortunately, pharmacists are not specifically identified as healthcare workers in this important legislation. ASHP, in collaboration with other pharmacy organizations, wrote to Rep. Maloney and urged her to include pharmacists in the loan forgiveness program. We look forward to working closely with Rep. Maloney’s office to support that effort.

Finally, in my last blog, I discussed a letter that I sent to the chief executive officer of Novo Nordisk responding to their advertisements, which omitted pharmacists from a list of individuals, including nurses, doctors, researchers, and other essential workers, who were acknowledged for their caring efforts on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.

I requested that pharmacists be explicitly recognized as healthcare providers and noted for the essential role they are playing, in addition to doctors, nurses, communities, and essential workers. I was pleased to quickly receive a response from Novo Nordisk’s leadership, acknowledging the vital role of pharmacists and agreeing to specifically highlight pharmacists in a new version of the advertisement, which has already been in print.

In closing, I want to reassure our members that ASHP will continue to work across multiple fronts to represent your perspectives and needs as we collectively navigate the ongoing pandemic response so you can provide the best care possible for your patients. Providing you with the latest information and new resources on our COVID-19 Resource Center remains a top priority. Please watch our weekly NewsLink emails to learn about new and updated resources and live webinars, and continue to connect with your peers on our COVID-19 Connect Community. You can also subscribe to @ASHPOfficial to receive content from our daily podcasts.

Thank you for being a member of ASHP and for everything that you do for your patients and our profession.

Sincerely,

Paul

April 30, 2020

ASHP Continues to Support Members and the Healthcare Community Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dear Colleagues,

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

THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC is changing our country’s healthcare landscape every day. Critical health policy changes are occurring at an unprecedented rate. We continue to engage with state and federal policymakers to ensure that pharmacists’ expertise is fully utilized and that healthcare providers are equipped to safely and effectively respond to the pandemic.

Update on States’ Response Efforts

State governors are issuing executive orders that expand pharmacists’ ability to provide high-quality care to patients during this crisis. For example, Michigan now permits pharmacists within licensed health facilities to contribute to routine health maintenance and manage chronic disease states without physician supervision. This expansion alleviates burdens on primary care providers and expands access to care, especially in rural and underserved communities where pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professionals.

We are also seeing a positive trend in pharmacists’ ability to manage therapeutic interchange. In Iowa and Kentucky, executive orders grant pharmacists the authority to substitute medications in response to drug shortages.

Point-of-care testing for COVID-19 is critical to the national pandemic response. Some states already permitted pharmacists, under their scope of practice or through collaborative practice agreements, to order and administer these tests. Pennsylvania, which previously allowed pharmacists to order and administer tests, has taken emergency measures to grant pharmacists explicit authority to order and administer COVID-19 tests. States like Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, and, most recently New York, issued executive orders that permit pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 tests. State-level COVID-19 response is a rapidly changing situation as local healthcare providers respond to patient surges and the demand for testing. Please check with your state’s board of pharmacy for more information about the status of COVID-19 testing in your area. Helpful information on COVID-19 testing can also be found on the National Community Pharmacists Association’s website.

ASHP applauds state governors’ efforts to expand pharmacists’ scope of practice during this state of emergency. However, we are concerned that authorizing the expansion of pharmacists’ services without authorizing payment for those services will limit the delivery of care in some pharmacy practice settings. COVID-19 is already highlighting shortcomings in state Medicaid payment systems and commercial payer policies that prevent qualified pharmacists from fully serving patients. ASHP is working closely with our state affiliates and other organizations to request reimbursement for the new services they are providing under the state of emergency. This advocacy aligns with ASHP’s Pharmacy Readiness for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Recommendations for State Policymakers. The recommendations address shortages of drugs and medical supplies and reimbursement of pharmacists for patient care services and also provide readiness and resilience resources for clinicians.

Pharmacists are Essential Healthcare Personnel

ASHP continues to voice our support for all pharmacists who are working tirelessly across the continuum of care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday, I sent a letter to the chief executive officer of Novo Nordisk responding to a full-page NovoCare ad that ran last weekend in the Wall Street Journal and other publications. Pharmacists were omitted from a list of individuals, including nurses, doctors, researchers, and other essential workers who were acknowledged for their caring efforts on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.

In the letter, I reinforced that pharmacists are highly skilled, licensed healthcare professionals who play a key role in selecting and optimizing medication therapy for patients. Pharmacists also oversee the entire medication-use process in hospitals and health systems, including the purchasing, distribution, preparation, and administration of pharmaceuticals. I further explained that, as members of interprofessional healthcare teams, pharmacists are providing a broad range of patient care services during the COVID-19 public health emergency, from directly caring for mechanically ventilated patients in critical care settings, to providing point-of-care testing and medication management to patients in community pharmacy settings and beyond.

It is my hope that Novo Nordisk will appropriately recognize pharmacists and the important role they play in future communications.

ASHP’s Response to Disruptions in Residency Training

In last week’s blog, I discussed the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on residency training. As a result of disruptions in routine or elective procedures and reductions in inpatient hospital stays, some hospitals and health systems are facing the difficult situation of furloughing their PGY1 and PGY2 pharmacy residents. These actions can disrupt patient care and make residents ineligible for board certification and professional positions that require postgraduate pharmacy residency training. We believe that educating future generations of pharmacists is more critical than ever, and ASHP has issued a statement opposing the furlough of residents.

As always, ASHP is here to support residents and residency programs. If you need assistance with a furlough situation, please reach out to Janet Silvester, vice president of Accreditation Services, or Stephen Ford, director of Residency Accreditation Services.

ASHP is Here for You and the Entire Healthcare Community

Over the past several weeks, I have been sharing information about new and timely resources that ASHP has developed and made available to optimize medication use and patient outcomes during this public health emergency. The response to these offerings, which is captured in a new ASHP infographic, has been tremendous. We are immensely proud of our staff and volunteers who have been working tirelessly to deliver highly relevant information across multiple channels. Our COVID-19 Resource Center is updated regularly with new content and I hope you continue to find the tools and information produced by ASHP valuable as needs related to the pandemic response evolve.

Thank you for being a member of ASHP and for everything that you do for your patients and our profession.

Sincerely,

Paul

 

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