In its first conference of the year, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores gathered regional drug chain and supplier members here to tackle "an ambitious agenda of retail and pharmacy."

National Association of Chain Drug Stores, NACDS Regional Chain Conference, regional drug chains, retail, pharmacy, Jim Spencer, Kinney Drugs, Bob Narveson, Thrifty White Pharmacy, Steve Anderson, NACDS Foundation, health care, Affordable Care Act, medication nonadherence, medication management, Dennis Wiesner, H-E-B, Tim Weippert, Carol Kelly, Medicare Part D, pharmacists, provider status, Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement, prescription drug supply chain law

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Regional chains look to be 'part of change' in health care

February 3rd, 2014

NAPLES, Fla. – In its first conference of the year, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores gathered regional drug chain and supplier members here to tackle "an ambitious agenda of retail and pharmacy."

Jim Spencer of Kinney Drugs at the opening session of the 2014 NACDS Regional Chain Conference.

NACDS said Monday that attendees at the Regional Chain Conference will examine issues ranging from Affordable Care Act implementation to digital technology's impact on shoppers and stores through interactive discussions and business meetings.

In the morning's opening general session, conference chairman Jim Spencer, president of Kinney Drugs, noted regional operators' ability to leverage "our nimbleness and knowledge of local markets in building custom strategies that appeal to our customers, local health care providers and payers," as well as the importance of executing those strategies "quickly and with precision."

"A forum such as this, which includes both retail operators and the vendor community, provides us with a unique opportunity to listen, learn, share and collaborate for the common goal of mutually growing our businesses while serving the wants and needs of our customers and our communities," Spencer told attendees.

NACDS chairman Bob Narveson, president and chief executive officer of Thrifty White Pharmacy, contrasted today's emphasis on new pharmacy services with the past focus on dispensing medications.

"Pharmacy is changing, and we have the opportunity to be part of that change, as long as we work together to improve our customers' health and reduce the overall health care spend for our patients," Narveson explained.

Narveson pointed out that government advocacy is critical to pharmacy's cause, citing aspects of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' recently proposed rule related to Medicare Part D as an example of "our voice being heard." He also thanked supplier companies for "their commitment to the regional chains."

NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson highlighted the work of the NACDS Foundation. "When it comes to setting big goals, like improving public health, and attacking those goals, there are not many examples better than the NACDS Foundation," he commented.

Anderson showed a video that showcases initiatives supported by NACDS Foundation grants in the areas of emerging health care models, rapid flu and strep tests, primary medication nonadherence, and evaluating medication management and hospital readmissions.

Next, Anderson introduced a panel discussion on a host of public policy issues. In addition to participation from attendees, panelists shaping the discussion included Dennis Wiesner, H-E-B's senior director of privacy, pharmacy and government affairs; Tim Weippert, Thrifty White's executive vice president of pharmacy; and Carol Kelly, NACDS' senior vice president of government affairs and public policy.

The panel discussion included the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and of the new prescription drug supply chain law, CMS' proposed rule on Medicare Part D issues, Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement, and the pursuit of "provider status" for pharmacists.

Additional general session topics at the NACDS Regional Chain Conference include proven retail strategies; digital technology's role in store operations and consumer behavior; employment policy trends; controlled substances and the Drug Enforcement Administration; telepharmacy; and pharmaceutical trends.