Editor's Note: Health Care Reform

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Pharmacy leadership has articulated 3 reform principles, and all pharmacists need to become familiar with them.

Mr. Eckel is a professor and director ofthe Office of Practice Development andEducation at the School of Pharmacy,University of North Carolina at ChapelHill.

In December 2008, 12 pharmacyorganizations and corporationsissued Pharmacy Principles forHealth Care Reform. Why was thisdocument developed? Most of us, providersand patients alike, realize thatour current system is not working. Aformer boss once told me that the onlytime when you can really make a majorchange in a system or program is whennobody feels that they have to defendthe existing system because they aregetting something out of it.

I think we have reached this situationwith health care. Although a fewproviders or corporations may still begetting all they want, they are certainlyin the minority! Most of us are not gettingenough to make us defend or fightto keep what we have. So, professionalsare not going to resist health carereform. This lack of resistance, coupledwith a commitment by government leadershipto introduce reform, means thatchange is likely. Pharmacists have muchto contribute to a reformed system, sowe must make sure that the new systemrecognizes and incorporates opportunitiesfor pharmacists to contribute.

Pharmacy leadership is articulating 3reform principles:

Reform Principle I: Improve qualityand safety of medication use, includingcoverage and payment for pharmacist-provided patient care services.

Reform Principle II: Ensure patientaccess to needed medicationsand pharmacy services, including pharmacistavailability to all, with patientchoice of provider of medications and patient care services, adequate reimbursement,and no barriers to genericsubstitution.

Reform Principle III: Promotepharmacy and health information technologyinteroperability, including accessto appropriate patient information.

All pharmacists need to becomefamiliar with these principles and sharethem as appropriate. Pharmacy leaderswill be articulating these principles inCongress. When asked, be ready tocommunicate your support to yourcongressional staff. Working togetherwith our leaders and our customers,change is possible. Most of the sponsoringorganizations have this documenton their Web page?a quick Websearch will allow you to review the3-page document.