Blogs: News & Views

The Time is Now: Winning Respect for Pharmacists

Mike Hennessy
Published Online: Monday, February 14, 2011



Pharmacists will soon gather in Washington, DC, to put a face on their critical professional concerns as they meet with members of Congress on 2011 RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill. Organized and sponsored by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), this third edition of the event, taking place March 9-10, 2011, will re-introduce the Washington crowd to one of their most important constituents in the health care debate—pharmacists.

Pharmacists will be wearing their white coats as they walk the halls of Congress, meeting with members to educate them on the significant role pharmacists can and do play in the reduction of health care costs, successful medication adherence, and patient care. In many ways, this day will drive home the message that pharmacists cannot and should not be ignored; they should be at the table for every single discussion on health care strategy and optimization of patient care in this country. It is a tactical error to omit them, sideline them, or ignore their contributions—and their potential contributions—for gaining control of the out-of-control health care costs in the United States that will burden generations to come.

It’s a message that is gaining ground. In fact, pharmacy associations are becoming more proactive as the nation’s health care system is dissected in the news and among stakeholder circles. I’ve discussed my thoughts on the current Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in previous columns, and I am not alone in my fear that the words “affordable care” have no place in a law that will cost trillions of dollars in the long run. Recently, in The New England Journal of Medicine, author Jonathan Oberlander, PhD, said “the law suffers from something of an identity crisis.” Furthermore, because of the way in which the Democratic leaders crafted the bill and pushed it through, many of the law’s provisions will not be implemented until 2014. “Democrats were never able to stitch (those) disparate elements together and give insured Americans…a simple, coherent story about how the ACA would benefit them,” wrote Dr. Oberlander.

The result is that our nation’s health policy will become a political football during the next 2 years as budget battles, states’ rights, and the appropriate scope of government is debated. Meaningful discussions with those in Congress who can address the specifics and make sense of this law are a priority, and I applaud pharmacists for stepping up and letting their voices be heard. They will have the ear of the new Congress, as well as those who have been hearing about health care reform for the past 2 years.

It is time for fresh voices to be heard—voices that will use a common sense approach and build a better health care system without destroying the one that is currently in place. Pharmacists have much at stake, so now is the time for pharmacists and their health care colleagues to speak up and weigh in on the challenges they face. If they don’t speak up for their communities, their own independence, and professional livelihoods, it will be a cloudy future at best. It’s time for ask for the respect and the recognition pharmacists deserve— and a great place to start is on Capitol Hill.

Thank you for reading!



Mike Hennessy

About
Mike Hennessy, Chairman and CEO
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Mike Hennessy shares his views and perspectives on issues that affect pharmacists.
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ABOUT MIKE HENNESSY, President, Chairman, CEO

Mike Hennessy is President, Chairman, and CEO of MJH & Associates and Intellisphere, LLC, publisher of influential journals in health care, finance, and politics, including Pharmacy Times. Pharmacy Times is a clinically based, monthly journal providing practical information pharmacists can use in their everyday practice. Each issue contains articles and features covering medication errors, drug interactions, patient education, pharmacy technology, disease state management watches, patient counseling, product news, pharmacy law, and specialty pharmacy. Pharmacy Times is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a provider of free continuing pharmacy education.

As a businessman, entrepreneur, and publisher of magazines, iPad editions, projects, and Web sites that focus on the needs of health care professionals, Hennessy is intimately familiar with the challenges these professionals face every day in today's competitive practice environment. News & Views: Hennessy's Highlights dissects health care policy issues, the impact of pharmacy on national health care, and the critical issues that concern pharmacists as the new health care reform legislation is debated.

As publisher of Pharmacy Times, Mr. Hennessy launched the Next-Generation Pharmacist Awards in partnership with Parata Systems, to recognize the achievements of pharmacists in health care. "As the leader in pharmacy publishing, Pharmacy Times is shining a light on the critical role of the pharmacist in today's health care world and providing invaluable insight into the profession," Mike Hennessy, chairman, chief executive officer, and president said. "We are proud to recognize individual pharmacists in this 2nd annual awards program."

Pharmacy Times is published by Intellisphere, LLC, a leading provider of health care publishing, research, information, and education. Operating within both traditional and digital media channels, Intellisphere serves the needs of health care professionals through an extensive suite of magazines, journals, e-mail databases, Web sites, events and personal meetings. Intellisphere reaches more than half a million health care professionals through Pharmacy Times, Specialty Pharmacy Times, The American Journal of Managed Care, The American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits, MDNG, HCPlive.com, Oncology & Biotech News, Oncology Net Guide, Contemporary Oncology, and Oncology Net Guide: Nurses' Edition.
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