A power outage caused by Hurricane Irma threatened to cancel an NACDS RxIMPACT tour of Fred’s Pharmacy in Georgia, but the pharmacy team persevered and Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) (right) ended up learning a lot about pharmacy he didn’t know before.
Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) found out firsthand how resilient and accessible pharmacies are when he toured a Fred’s Pharmacy in Social Circle, Ga., last week as part of the NACDS RxIMPACT program. Hurricane Irma had knocked out power to the pharmacy just days before, and the pharmacy team wasn’t sure they could still host the congressman. But they thought it would be a good opportunity to show Hice they could still operate—even under difficult conditions—so they went ahead with the tour.
Their efforts paid off. Steve Stewart, R.Ph., clinical field coordinator at Fred’s Pharmacy, noted that Hice was “very impressed” that the pharmacy was prepared and able to respond under challenging conditions and continued to serve patients, even after a damaging storm. Hice told the team he was not aware of all the services pharmacies provide to patients—especially immunizations. Stewart said Hice appreciated the accessibility of the pharmacy, particularly because there are six Fred’s in his district, which is largely rural. Stewart observed that Hice was able to see for himself that the pharmacy is serving underserved populations and is more accessible than many care providers. The team discussed provider status legislation and other vital pharmacy legislative issues. Hice reported on his positive experience in his weekly newsletter to constituents and wrote, “I took a trip to Fred’s Pharmacy in Social Circle to have a face-to-face discussion about the services pharmacists provide to the community.” Getting lawmakers to actually come to pharmacies so they can see for themselves the services and accessibility pharmacies provide—even in dire conditions—contributes to their research on pressing issues.
As Congress continues to contend with a broad, complex array of healthcare concerns, and as portions of the country struggle to rebuild amid an unprecedented season of extreme weather patterns, pharmacy has consistently shown it is a constant amid change—and adversity. NACDS RxIMPACT has been instrumental in connecting Congress with pharmacy so lawmakers can see the value pharmacy has in their communities.