Deanna Kelly, PharmD, BCPP
It’s a new year, which means new resolutions and maybe new hopes for what policymakers might address this year. The year 2017 was a year of firsts for CPNP in terms of government affairs. CPNP contracted with District Policy Group (DPG) as its DC based government affairs representatives, completed issue briefs and authored comment letters to inform others about psychiatric pharmacy and our important positions, conducted numerous visits to legislators on Capitol Hill, and participated in conversations with regulatory agencies and other important stakeholders. With increasing experience under our belts, here is a look of how we will be working on your behalf in 2018.
2018 Health Policy Agenda
The CPNP Board of Directors and Government Affairs Council (GAC) have finalized the 2018 Health Policy Agenda. Our efforts will be directed to the following:
- Educate policymakers and healthcare professionals about the role of psychiatric pharmacist on the healthcare team (who we are and what we do) and the value of psychiatric pharmacists on the healthcare team.
- Support policy changes that:
- increase access to psychiatric pharmacists’ services including payment for psychiatric pharmacists’ services,
- support innovative models of care and payment models that include psychiatric pharmacists on the healthcare team to improve outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and help alleviate the workforce shortage,
- obtain provider status for pharmacists in rural areas by working with the Patient Access to Pharmacists' Care Coalition (PAPCC).
- Partner with other organizations and coalitions to support increased access to care.
Coalitions as a Strategy
Being a team-based profession and a small, specialty association with limits to its volunteer, staff, and financial resources, one of CPNP’s primary strategies is to partner with others in the health professions through coalitions. This collective work allows us to advocate for legislation and regulation that is favorable toward the profession and the patients we serve but with a much bigger, more powerful voice. CPNP is now members or soon to be members of the following coalitions:
- Mental Health Liaison Group: The MHLG is a coalition of more than 60 national organizations representing consumers, family members, mental health and substance use treatment providers, advocates, payers, and other stakeholders committed to strengthening Americans’ access to mental health and substance use services and programs.
- Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC): HPNEC is an informal alliance of more than 60 organizations representing a variety of schools, programs, health professionals and students dedicated to educating professional health personnel. Together, the members of HPNEC advocate for adequate and continued support for the health professions and nursing workforce development programs authorized under Titles VII and VIII of the Public Health Service Act. Pharmacy and mental health are areas of focus for HPNEC.
- Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition (PAPCC): Well known amongst pharmacists, the mission of PAPCC is to develop and help enact a federal policy proposal that would enable Medicare beneficiary access to, and payment for, Medicare Part B services by state-licensed pharmacists in medically underserved communities. The primary goal of this effort is to improve medically underserved seniors’ access to pharmacists’ services consistent with state scope of practice laws and regulations.
Advocacy is a long-term, relationship building type of activity. Psychiatric pharmacy and CPNP are relatively unknown inside the Beltway. As such, in order to advance its goals and achieve its objectives, CPNP needs to elevate its profile and establish its own relationships with congressional and federal agency policymakers and Washington, DC based health professional thought leaders. As we grow and mature in this arena, we will be relying on you as peers and members to exert your influence locally, statewide and nationally on areas of importance to the profession.