Ms. Khani and Mr. Sewell arecopresidents of the Coalition forCommunity Pharmacy Action.
The American public signaled amandate for change in the historicelection of Barack Obamaas the 44th president of the UnitedStates. The Obama administration andCongress will confront many domesticand foreign policy challenges, andarguably, no challenge will be greaterthan reforming the US health care system.With economic woes and systemicchallenges in the delivery andpayment of health care services, theneed for transformative reform continuesto resonate with lawmakers andconstituents.
Community pharmacy congratulatesPresident-elect Obama and looks forwardto working collaboratively withhis administration and Congress toreform our nation's health care system.Although President-elect Obamawill not be sworn in until later thismonth, the Coalition for CommunityPharmacy Action (CCPA) has alreadybegun to meet with key elected officialswho will be the drivers of healthcare reform legislation in the 111thCongress. In our discussions withpolicymakers, CCPA is advocating forexpanding the role of pharmacists inthe delivery of health care services asa means to improve health care outcomesand reduce costs.
The case for an expanded role forpharmacy is clear. An August 2007report by the National Council onPatient Information and Educationcited an economic analysis that failureto take medications as prescribed costsan estimated $177 billion annually indirect and indirect health care costs.Furthermore, in addition to their dramatichuman costs, an October 2007report released by the Milken Instituteindicated that the 7 most commonchronic diseases in the nation inflict a$1.3-trillion annual drag on the economy,a toll that could reach nearly $6trillion by the middle of the century.
As medication experts, highly trustedand accessible, community pharmacistsare uniquely qualified to workin partnership with patients and otherhealth care providers to tackle the complexitiesof chronic disease care andappropriate medication use. Researchstudies have shown that pharmacistprovidedcounseling and disease managementprograms have resulted inreduced mortality, morbidity, and anappreciable reduction in health carespending. Pharmacists are in a uniqueposition to make disease managementprograms available to patients and helpthe system reap tremendous savingsfrom pharmacists' interventions.
TheCoalition for CommunityPharmacy Action (CCPA) is analliance between the NationalAssociation of Chain Drug Stores(NACDS) and the National CommunityPharmacists Association (NCPA),which together represents more than55,000 community pharmacies. CCPAleverages the support, effort, andinfrastructure of NACDS and NCPAwhile engaging community pharmacyto participate and advocate on issuesaffecting the industry.
In addition, pharmacists havealways been on the forefront of qualityimprovements and leaders in areassuch as health information technology,initiatives to reduce adverse drugevents, and medication therapy management.CCPA is especially excited tohighlight these and other issues as weparticipate in the health care reformdebate that will play out in the monthsand years ahead.
Throughout the presidential campaign,President-elect Obama spoke ofhis commitment to health care coveragefor all Americans and the need tofix a broken health care system. Whilewe must wait to learn more of thespecifics of President-elect Obama'shealth care reform plans, his actionsas a senator demonstrated support forseveral community pharmacy issues.Most notably, he was a cosponsor ofthe Fair Medicaid Drug Payment Act(S 1951), legislation to address thedrastic Medicaid pharmacy reimbursementreductions enacted as part of theDeficit Reduction Act.
CCPA looks forward to workingwith President-elect Obama, Congress,patients, and others to strengthen ournation's health care system, utilizingpharmacists to improve health careoutcomes and reduce costs.