Washington, DC – Demonstrating pharmacists’ increasingly important role in the delivery of healthcare services, more than 400 community pharmacists, pharmacy executives, pharmacy students and other pharmacy advocates from 40 states participated in the 6th Annual NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill this week. Meetings were conducted with more than 80 percent of the entire U.S. Congress including 136 of 139 Members of Congress who serve on Congressional committees with jurisdiction on healthcare issues.
“The NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill is an important opportunity for pharmacy advocates from across the country to discuss pro-patient, pro-pharmacy issues with lawmakers in the nation’s capital,” said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE. “Extremely valued by those in greatest need, pharmacies help patients use medicines safely and stay healthy, and provide innovative pharmacy services to improve patient health and quality of life, also helping to improve healthcare affordability.”
This year’s NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill program included prominent speakers. Mike Allen, chief White House correspondent for the widely-read Washington political publication Politico, addressed attendees during the Welcome Dinner on Wednesday evening, providing timely insights on politics in Washington, DC and across the nation.
U.S. Representative Fred Upton (R-MI) served as the keynote speaker at the Breakfast Briefing on Thursday, and received the NACDS Congressional Leadership Award for his commitment to community pharmacy. Rep. Upton serves as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over key pharmacy issues.
This week’s NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill coincided with the introduction of H.R. 4190, which would amend the Social Security Act to designate pharmacists as healthcare providers under the Medicare program. Under the bill, pharmacists would work to their full capability by providing underserved patients in the Medicare program with services not currently available to them, including immunizations, diabetes screenings and self-management education, cardiovascular screenings and behavioral therapy – within the scope of state laws.
“It is timely that this commonsense, bipartisan legislation was introduced the week of our annual grassroots advocacy fly-in. So well represented in Washington this week, retail pharmacies are oftentimes the most readily accessible healthcare provider. Research has shown that nearly all Americans (89%) live within five miles of a community retail pharmacy,” said Anderson. “Combined with their expertise and training, pharmacists as healthcare providers can serve their patients to their full capabilities.”
U.S. Senator John Tester (D-MT) and U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) also submitted official comments to the Congressional Record in support of their constituents and community pharmacy in lead-up to NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill.
“Pharmacy has an important part to play – working collaboratively with other healthcare professionals and providers – in providing patient care for those in need,” Anderson said. “And events like the NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill further reinforce the recognition by lawmakers of that evolving role of pharmacy in patient care.”