Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Policy and political analysis and idea-sharing are in full swing at the NACDS Regional Chain Conference – which focuses on the needs of National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) chain-member companies that operate from four to 250 stores each, as well as their supplier partners. In total, NACDS-member regional chains represented at the Conference are responsible for more than 2,300 stores and over $11 billion in annual sales.
This Conference is about sharing, collaboration, and discussion on the issues and opportunities now and in the future.
At the Opening General Session today, the national political scene took center stage with expert insights from political analyst Morton Kondracke, and with the launch of NACDS RxIMPACT Votes – the get-out-the-vote arm of NACDS’ highly successful grassroots program. Also of primary focus was the continuing evaluation of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Covered Outpatient Drugs Final Rule – commonly referred to as the Medicaid Average Manufacturer Price (AMP) rule.
The Opening General Session began a series of forums throughout the Conference that will address pharmacy, health and wellness, and front-end issues of importance to regional chains and suppliers alike.
In launching the Conference, NACDS Regional Chain Conference Chairman Eric Graf, MS, RPh, CEO of Ritzman Pharmacies, Inc., thanked the chain and supplier members and sponsors for engaging in the event. He also recognized the Regional Chain Conference Committee, whose insights shaped the event’s content.
“This Conference makes a difference,” Graf said. “This Conference is about sharing, collaboration, and discussion on the issues and opportunities now and in the future. The value realized by this Conference is directly proportional to the amount of effort we put into each of our interactions this week.”
Graf also will present on “Redefining the Community Pharmacy Experience” during Tuesday’s General Session.
NACDS Chairman of the Board Randy Edeker, chairman, CEO and president of Hy-Vee, Inc., recapped the decade-long focus of NACDS in advocating for pharmacy patient care on the Medicaid AMP issue. This issue and other federal and state topics received a comprehensive review, led by NACDS Policy Council Chairman Mike Duteau, RPh, vice president of business development and strategic relations for Kinney Drugs, Inc.
“There is going to be a lot of discussion about the new Medicaid AMP rule, and I want to make two points,” Edeker said. “First, I encourage you to dive into the presentations and discussions. Second, regarding NACDS’ track record on this issue, NACDS has demonstrated great leadership in advocating for pharmacy and for patients. It is a very tough issue and NACDS will have a very critical eye.
“Looking back, the success of NACDS and our allies in blocking the original approach to Medicaid AMP prevented the forced closure of 11,000 pharmacies – 20 percent of all stores.”
Edeker urged engagement in the NACDS RxIMPACT grassroots advocacy program, and announced the return for the 2016 elections of the NACDS RxIMPACT Votes get-out-the-vote initiative.
“This program is not telling you who to vote for, but it encourages the people of pharmacy to know the issues and to get out and vote,” he explained. “This is a bipartisan program that will give you the materials you need to engage your teams about how to support the candidates of their choice.”
He also commented on the value of NACDS to Hy-Vee, saying: “We need NACDS. NACDS is efficient, effective, powerful and respected, and we are committed to engaging in NACDS.”
NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, noted the significance of welcoming Morton Kondracke to speak as the presidential nomination process has officially begun.
“The timing of this Conference is ideal for political analysis: it is right between the February 1 Iowa Caucuses and tomorrow’s New Hampshire primary,” said Anderson, who also emphasized Kondracke’s visibility and popularity in diverse media outlets including Roll Call, Fox News, NPR, The Wall Street Journal and more over the course of his 60-year career.
“In describing political analysts, the first instinct is usually to list the media brands with which they have been associated over time. In addition to these brands with which most have been associated, we could add NACDS to the list. He has joined us somewhat regularly: most recently at NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill in 2012 to discuss the presidential and congressional elections in that year,” Anderson said.
The Conference program continues through Tuesday evening, with a timely agenda of Insight Sessions that fuel discussion on specific issues, as well as General Sessions on topics of interest to all attendees. Pharmacy and front-end topics that are being explored at the Conference include healthcare innovation; consumer-driven and retail-based healthcare; Drug Enforcement Administration compliance; small-format equity; pharmaceutical trends; transitions of care; and employment law.
Tuesday afternoon at the Conference will feature an ambitious agenda of one-to-one business conferences between NACDS Chain and Associate members.