More than 350 community pharmacists, pharmacy executives, students and others—representing 44 states—convened on Capitol Hill March 25-26 for the 7th annual NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill. 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 overall costs.

Your stores are everywhere, you see people everywhere, and you render care to people everywhere.

Presenters at the morning briefing on Thursday underscored that conveying personal stories about expanding pharmacists’ roles and supporting medication therapy management legislation would resonate with congressional members and staff. In accepting the NACDS Congressional Leadership Award from NACDS President & CEO Steven Anderson, IOM, CAE, Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) told his own personal story about a pharmacist who caught an error in a prescription for his then-eight-year-old son. Guthrie said, “I’ve always respected what you do.” The congressman noted that access to care, especially as healthcare reform is consolidating care in big cities and hospitals, is essential. He said, “Your stores are everywhere, you see people everywhere, and you render care to people everywhere.”

Advocates were motivated by recently introduced legislation in the Senate and House of Representatives that would give Medicare patients enhanced access to pharmacy services within the scope of state laws under the bill, and formal recognition from the House and Senate of NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill published in the Congressional Record by the only pharmacist currently in Congress, Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA), and Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT). Drug Store News prepared a special edition and NACDS placed an ad in this week’s issue of Politico, both of which participants could take on their congressional visits.

Yesterday, all of the advocates took their pro-pharmacy, pro-patient stories on more than 460 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—a lot more. Following a successful meeting  with Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX), Tracy Benavides of H-E-B said, “It’s easy for people to think all we’re doing is putting pills in a bottle, when in reality we’re doing a lot more than that. Without us coming here and telling Congress our stories and what we do, they would never know.”

Couldn’t make it to D.C.? No problem. You can still urge Congress to recognize the value of pharmacy by participating in NACDS RxIMPACT’S biggest letter-writing campaign ever. Also, be sure to stay in the loop and connect with hundreds of pharmacy advocates by joining the RxIMPACT LinkedIn group.

Visit the NACDS Flickr album to view additional photos from the event.