The value pharmacy brings—and its potential to step up in a rapidly shifting healthcare landscape—stood out at this week’s innovative and collaborative NACDS Regional Chain Conference. The conference provided a leading-edge forum to explore business-to-business partnerships and a public policy agenda that is focused on solutions in healthcare policy, which will benefit patient outcomes and reduce overall healthcare costs.

I think NACDS runs the best meetings…it’s very productive for us, and this marketplace function is essential.

NACDS Chairman of the Board Martin Otto, chief merchant and chief financial officer of H-E-B, spoke of the challenges ahead in the industry and healthcare delivery. Otto outlined NACDS’ role in addressing these challenges as threefold:

  • Provide a supplier and retailer marketplace. “I think NACDS runs the best meetings…it’s very productive for us, and this marketplace function is essential.”
  • Advocate for pharmacy. “I look at the key elements as being access, cost and quality.”
  • Participate and lead in public policy solutions for healthcare. “We need end-to-end solutions for healthcare…[which will] create solutions for the industry, for healthcare, for patients, and for pharmacy.”

Otto also urged participants to engage in the NACDS RxIMPACT on Capitol Hill, March 14-15. He said, “It’s a chance for hundreds of us to go meet with the different legislators, both in the House and the Senate…and my hope is that everybody here will participate and spread the word and get everybody that you know who is not here to participate as well because it really does make a difference.” Otto cited his firsthand experience as a participant of the conference, and said, “I’ve seen a dramatic difference in the level of education on the part of the legislators in terms of what they know about our industry and what pharmacy can do.”

NACDS Regional Chain Conference Chairman Kristin Williams, senior vice president and chief health officer of Hy-Vee, Inc., said, “This conference is about sharing, collaboration and discussion on the issues and opportunities now and in the future.” She noted that the conference was very timely, especially given the current uncertainties in healthcare, and emphasized that pharmacy is well-equipped to develop solutions that will address the growing needs of the healthcare industry. She said, “We deliver personalized care, we adapt to emerging community needs, and pilot new products and services in partnership with the suppliers gathered here today.”

NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, noted that, “the next several years are going to be pivotal years in terms of healthcare policy and pharmacy of care,” and that NACDS has had “a dramatic impact of being ahead of the curve in terms of providing advocacy outside the Beltway,” which he said is going to be very important moving forward. Anderson also encouraged participants to attend NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill, where last year advocates met with 90 percent of congressional offices during the event.

Member engagement drove the agenda of the conference, which focuses on the needs of NACDS chain-member companies that operate from four to 250 stores each, as well as their supplier partners.

View photos from the event on the NACDS Regional Chain Conference Flickr album.