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NACDS pharmacy tours have impact with lawmakers
September 24th, 2012
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – As the presidential campaign season kicks into high gear, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores said its grassroots advocacy program, NACDS RxImpact, is "having a banner year" in giving lawmakers a firsthand look at the value of community pharmacy.
NACDS said that so far this year its members have conducted 49 pharmacy tours and NACDS member headquarters meetings with lawmakers in 25 states, up more than 80% from the number of tours in 2011.
Members of Congress in Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Ohio, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia and over a dozen other states visited an NACDS-member pharmacy in their community to learn about the broad menu of health care services that pharmacists provide patients.
Lawmakers received flu shots, participated in health screenings, learned about the processes involved in dispensing prescription medication and saw in person how pharmacists help patients understand the importance of taking their medications as prescribed, which improves health outcomes and controls health care costs.
NACDS said Rep. Jim Matheson (D., Utah) described his RxImpact pharmacy tour experience on his Facebook page: "Enjoyed visit to West Jordan Shopko this morning. Pharmacist Ryan Swensen and his team shared important information about use of technology to improve safe, efficient delivery of prescriptions to patients."
The NACDS RxImpact Pharmacy Tour program has hosted more than 100 tours since its inception in 2009.
"We hear countless positive anecdotes from lawmakers who come away from the experience saying, 'Wow, I didn't realize all the things that a pharmacist can do to help patients stay healthy,' " NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a statement. "Pharmacy tours are truly a window into a day in the life of a community pharmacist, who truly is a health care partner for patients."
NACDS noted that besides the pharmacy tour program, there are a number of ways that pharmacy advocates can help drive pro-patient, pro-pharmacy policies. For example, the NACDS RxImpact Votes initiative — coming with less than six weeks until Election Day on Nov. 6. — aims to help energize advocates to participate in the election process. The program provides advocates a roadmap to register to vote, volunteer on a campaign to build candidate relationships before and after the election, and vote on Election Day.
The NACDS RxImpact Training Program offers face-to-face training to help pharmacy advocates understand how to effectively communicate with members of Congress. The program also can be accredited for continuing education credit.
And NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill brings more than 300 pharmacy advocates to Washington to educate members of Congress about pro-patient, pro-pharmacy policies. Pharmacists, pharmacy operators, pharmacy school deans, pharmacy students and other advocates attend the two-day program that includes meetings with lawmakers and their staff and a legislative briefing on key health policy issues.
The next RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill is scheduled for March 13 and 14, 2013.
In additon, two programs are designed for pharmacy students and emphasize the important role they play in the policymaking process. The NACDS RxImpact "U" Network and "U" Academy give pharmacy students the tools and resources they need to get involved in the political and policy process.
"There are so many opportunities to engage with lawmakers on behalf of community pharmacy through the NACDS RxIpact program," Anderson added. "And it will be ever-more critical for pharmacy advocates to get involved as presidential and congressional elections are just around the corner. Whether it's a pharmacy tour, training program or meeting with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., advocates do have an impact on political and policy landscapes, and it's more important than ever to help educate policy makers on the impact of community pharmacy on health care delivery system and patient care."