Show these members of Congress—who represent you—what you do every day and how hard you work to make the lives better of the clients, constituents and customers you serve.
Teams of novice and veteran advocates made their way to Capitol Hill to tell pharmacy’s story to lawmakers, emphasizing the role pharmacists play as trusted, accessible healthcare providers who provide services that improve patient outcomes and reduce costS.
A special NACDS Board of Directors program on March 16 featured meetings with congressional leaders, including House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Vice Chairman Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY); House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV); staff members of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT); Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR); and others.
Presenters at the morning briefing on Thursday underscored that conveying personal stories to lawmakers about the role pharmacists play in their constituents’ lives would resonate with congressional members and staff. Former Senator Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D-AR), who spoke at the briefing breakfast on March 17, said, “Show these members of Congress—who represent you—what you do every day and how hard you work to make the lives better of the clients, constituents and customers you serve.” She said, “There’s no doubt stories make a difference.” On the significance of living in “the greatest country on earth,” she said, “our responsibility is to participate and help make it better.”
Following the morning briefing, all of the advocates took their pro-pharmacy, pro-patient stories on more than 480 congressional meetings at Senate and House offices. The experience pharmacists have on the frontline of healthcare delivery made them well positioned to explain to Congress that there is more to the story of what pharmacists do every day.
Showing that it’s never too early to get involved, Ryan Swensen, PharmD, the regional pharmacy supervisor for Shopko Stores Operating Co., LLC, brought his 12-year-old son Zane to the event. Zane wants to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a pharmacist. He said, “It’s a good job opportunity and my dad is a pharmacist, so I could get some help if I need it.” Swensen, the first recipient of the NACDS RxIMPACT Key Contact of the Year Award last year, said, “Since Zane’s interested in pharmacy, we might as well give him as early a start as possible.” After their meetings on Capitol Hill, the father and son plan to visit the National Archives to see the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Then they will tour the National Mall because, Swensen said, “Zane wants to get a selfie with Lincoln.”
Advocates were motivated by formal recognition from the House and Senate of NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill published in the Congressional Record by Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) who said, “I believe Congress should look at every opportunity to make sure that pharmacists are allowed to utilize their training to the fullest to provide the services that can improve care, increase access and lower costs.” Drug Store News prepared a special edition in support of the event, which participants could take on their congressional visits. This week Politico’s Prescription Pulse reported on NACDS RxIMPACT Votes campaign and the event.
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Visit the NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill Flickr album to view more photos from the event.