Insights from Ritzman’s Eric Graf

The NACDS Regional Chain Conference—February 7-9, 2016—is fast approaching. spoke with the NACDS 2016 Regional Chain Conference Chairman Eric Graf, R.Ph., M.S., chief executive officer of Ritzman Pharmacy, Inc., about the Conference and his participation in the Policy Council meeting this week at NACDS headquarters.

Any regional chain is going to benefit from the Conference because the topics are timely, the presentations are strong and the camaraderie with peers is really beneficial.

Q: What changes in the operational environment—e. g., the upcoming presidential election and the latest political trends—do you see that might impact the discussions at the Conference?

A: Obviously it’s an exciting environment and time. We’re already seeing some candidates drop out of the race. Three of the biggest candidates on the Republican side are really not public officeholders, but they are rising to the top and staying there. It will be interesting to see if they can sustain that or not. That is a huge dynamic that you don’t normally see—candidates who are identified for lots of reasons other than being political officeholders. It will be exciting to see what happens in the race in late January or early February, closer to the Conference.

Q: You just participated in the Policy Council meeting. What were some of your main takeaways?

A: It was a very eye-opening day for me. I probably knew two-thirds of the things that were going on, but not necessarily in-depth, so it was an incredible day. The NACDS staff and the external speakers that were brought in from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Sonoma Group were really excited about what they’re doing, and that added a great dynamic to the meeting.

Q: One of the speakers was Rhett Buttle, HHS director of private sector engagement, who talked about the Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment. How was that discussion? 

A: What was incredible to me was just the number of people around the table that he identified by name and who knew him. It was good to hear how much the pharmacy community has done to support all the HHS efforts to implement of the Health Insurance Marketplace. We’ve all tried to do our best to get it figured out, and he was commending pharmacy and their role, both in assisting them and helping patients to succeed. It was a really healthy dialogue.

Q: Ritzman Pharmacy recently partnered with the Northeast Ohio Medical University to build a ‘pharmacy of the future’. How do you think that model will change pharmacists’ roles in healthcare delivery?

A: In the 1960s, pharmacists were really pillars in the community and they had an influential role. The Affordable Care Act has put a new opportunity out there because there’s now a shortage of primary entry-level access to care. By taking the elements of the ‘60s and moving them into the current century—with point-of-care testing, truly engaging in a wellness journey and helping people improve their outcomes—it will put the pharmacist out front.

Q: What advice would you give to participants who will be attending the 2016 NACDS Regional Chain Conference?

A: Any regional chain is going to benefit from the Conference because the topics are timely, the presentations are strong and the camaraderie with peers is really beneficial. It’s a huge opportunity to step out of the shop and improve yourself and improve your business opportunities.

2016-12-06T13:24:15+00:00Oct-08-15|Categories: Article|Tags: , |