Implications of Health Care Reform for Pharmacists Addressed at Summit

At a health care forum hosted by Politics magazine, current and former members of Congress said they believed President Obama would sign some sort of a health care reform package, most likely later this year. Former Governor Howard Dean, MD; Senator John Barrasso, MD (R-WY); and other health care industry opinion leaders joined Burgess and more than 150 attendees from congressional offices, advocacy organizations, private industry, and health insurers at the second annual Politics magazine Health Policy Summit.

The second of 2 panels was moderated by Michael Chernew, PhD, professor of health care policy in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School and coeditor of the American Journal of Managed Care, and it featured Carol Kelly, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Policy for NACDS; Christopher J. Badgley, Vice President State Government Affairs for PhRMA; John Rother, Director of Policy and Strategy for AARP; and former Governor Howard Dean, MD. Discussion focused on the implications of reform for health care providers, managed care, pharmacy, and patients.

Rother said a much bigger issue is the need for significant improvements in public health. "Screening individuals has a microscopic impact [compared to] getting people to stop smoking or lose weight." Those things have a monumental impact, he said, and patients should be incentivized to make better choices.

Kelly said pharmacists will play a key role in improving overall care, partly through medication therapy management and other methods that encourage patient compliance with treatment. Kelly advocated a better-organized delivery system and greater use of technology to eliminate duplication of effort and promote "the high-quality care all Americans deserve."

For video coverage of the live event, please click here: http://www.hcplive.com/hcsummit.