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The Ides of March have ushered in a surge of legislative activity coinciding with the rapidly approaching scientific programming at CPNP’s Annual Meeting. This creates the perfect opportunity for Annual Meeting participants to engage in therapeutic debates and legislative discussions that will guide the course of our professional future.

Therapeutic Debates

Therapeutic debates are plentiful at the Annual Meeting with a point/counterpoint keynote on medical marijuana and an additional keynote intended to provide insights as to whether atypical antipsychotics are really mood stabilizers. Program faculty will discuss topics ranging from violence and mental illness, the epidemic of obesity, key questions in ADHD, and the role of anti-inflammatory agents in the treatment of mental illness just to name a few. I congratulate CPNP’s 2014 Programming and Recertification Committees led by chairs Drs. Deanna Kelly and Sarah Melton. These controversial and cutting-edge topics are bound to ignite lively discussions among our membership and Annual Meeting attendees. 

Pharmacy Legislation

As many of you are aware, Medicare Part B provider status legislation was introduced to Congress on March 11th, 2014 with bipartisan support from Congressman Brett Guthrie (R-KY), GK Butterfield (D-NC) and Todd Young (R-IN). The bill calls for Medicare reimbursement for certain pharmacist services in federally qualified, medically under-served communities. This bill recognizes pharmacists as providers of care within their scope of practice and does not specify the care process that they provide. This bill, HR 4190, is supported by the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition (PAPCC). The coalition currently represents several retail pharmacy organizations and pharmacy associations including APhA, ASHP, NACDS and others. CPNP fully supports the concepts in the legislation and will continue to engage with the PAPCC to support the legislation as it goes forward. 

Unfortunately, CPNP could not officially join the PAPCC because a condition of membership involved dropping support of the ACCP/CPNP coalition effort. As you know, CPNP joined forces with ACCP last year in an effort to amend Medicare Part B, to recognize qualified clinical pharmacists practicing comprehensive medication management as part of the patient’s healthcare team.

The two pieces of legislation (HR 4190 and ACCP-CPNP’s pending bill) differ in that HR 4190 calls for pharmacists to be recognized as providers for whatever service they provide. The patient care process used and qualifications of the pharmacist are not specified. Our anticipated coalition legislation is clearly defined and addresses a specific benefit for Medicare patients which is provided by qualified pharmacists. CPNP leadership firmly believes that both legislative initiatives, as well as SB 1392, the “Lower Cost, Better Care Act” which was introduced in late 2013, can co-exist, and we applaud those who support the concept of pharmacists as providers and part of the healthcare team. 

You can learn more about each piece of legislation (introduced and pending) in our Provider Status article in this edition of the CPNP Perspectives.

CPNP’s Forum on our Future 

Just like our therapeutics debates, CPNP values your ideas and contributions to organizational priorities and initiatives. CPNP is your organization and those of us with the privilege to serve as your leadership team want to hear from you so that we can make decisions that are best for our members and the patients we serve. 

In order to provide a forum for questions and discussion, CPNP is retooling its Town Hall Meeting to the “Forum on our Future.” Offered over Wednesday breakfast, this revamped business meeting will allow for brief reports from our leadership followed by open discussion opportunities. Three topics have been selected for introduction followed by an open microphone opportunity. Topics include:

  • Legislative Developments in Pharmacy led by Legislative Consultant Carey Potter and Government Affairs Committee Chair Carla Cobb.
  • Pharmacists as Providers of Substance Abuse Treatment led by Substance Abuse Task Force Chair Bethany DiPaula and Board Liaison Ray Love.
  • Residency Training Issues and Developments led by me and Board Member Chris Thomas.

I urge you to make the trip to sunny Arizona, and take an active step in expanding your knowledge, professional network, and your understanding and involvement in legislative and other issues impacting our industry. I look forward to seeing you there!

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