Mike Agostino, RPh, President, National Association of Specialty Pharmacy, reflects on how the organization advances the specialty pharmacy industry through their annual meeting.
Agostino: So there’s a couple things that had come out of [the 2017] conference that were part of a little bit of last year's, but yet I would say more profound last year.
First, a lot of discussion on outcomes. I could not be more satisfied with the committee that has been created by us, by our board, by our Executive Director Sheila Arquette, to look at outcomes specific to specialty pharmacies. What was just really overwhelming is when I went in and said hello to the committee during their meeting, I was just floored. I was floored by how many people were in there, and I was equally floored to look around the room knowing the folks who are part of our industry. Not everybody was a practitioner, not everybody was a pharmacist. We had government affair folks in there, we had folks from distribution, we had folks who are innovators within the industry, and it just goes to show me how important this is to everybody within the industry of how to define the value of the services that we provide to our patients, and what does that value mean to overall health care and to the overall financial status of the health care system.
Then also too, out of that, was just an absolutely passionate presentation by our DIR panel, led by Phil Hagerman. I had the pleasure of being with our keynote speaker, Alex Azar, as he came to our conference, and he was to speak after this presentation. We were sitting by the sidelines, and not to draw too much attention to him because everybody knows Alex, but as I said to Alex watch this, he watched and listened to the presentation that Phil gave. What Phil represents is our industry, and he represents the passion, and the plea to try to make change, but also to try to make change with accountability.
What we’re trying to do within our industry right now is to try and level set how we get reimbursed for services that are rendered in such a way that we’re not reimbursed below our cost, and I could not be more proud of that group.
Then last but not least, to hear perspective of other health care practitioners. Our specialty pharmacists, highly critical of course, but then what we’re also seeing is more working, more collaboration with nurses, more collaboration with case managers. This evolution that is quickly turning into more services on the case management side than there have been within specialty pharmacy. I see that as an evolution simply because we are eventually going to get to the point where we want to get reimbursed for services that are rendered, and the services that are rendered are all the extra touch points that we offer our patients and our health care providers and the overall health care system.
So, very proud of everybody, it was a fantastic conference.