NCPA Executive Update

NCPA Executive Update delivers insights on legislative, regulatory, policy, and industry developments from NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA, to NCPA members and pharmacy leaders every Friday.

What Is Going Well? | NCPA Executive Update | April 14, 2017

by NCPA | Apr 13, 2017

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey

During this first quarter of 2017, it's been easy to get sidetracked on combative themes. Between domestic and world politics there's plenty of battling, and in the world of community pharmacy it seems like we've had our own fair share of hand-to-hand combat.

Policymakers' and media interest in PBMs and the role they play in increasing the costs of prescriptions is unprecedented. I lost track many weeks ago of how many times NCPA has been asked to comment on how PBMs work. To help spread the story faster, last week we released The PBM Story: What They Say, What They Do, and What Can Be Done About It. You can download the story and share it with your legislators and media. A perfect place to share is at the NCPA Congressional Pharmacy Fly-In April 26-27 in D.C.

Of course, there are other things going on too. The inappropriate use of DIR fees continues—though, legislation has been introduced and a CMS analysis and an actuarial report that NCPA commissioned have helped build momentum for possible changes there. (By the way: Yesterday we released a new infographic explaining how retroactive DIR fees affect your patients. It's a good companion to our infographic on how DIRs affect your pharmacy. Download both and share with policymakers.)

I was reminded over the past couple of weeks of something NCPA's keynote speaker, Greg Bell, said at the NCPA Annual Convention last October. He suggested starting each day by listing "what is going well." I thought about that because of a very minor wake-up call recently. I got sick. Just a little sick, mind you. Really, barely enough to even mention. One of those flu slash sinus infection slash URI sicknesses that you daily think must have just about run its course—and then continues dragging on with a new array of symptoms. No big deal, though. Just enough of a little kick in the rear to remind me how important health is and how many things are going right.

Of course, I made it to work each day, went on business trips, had meetings, etc.—there was too much to do to even think about slowing down. I felt lousy however, and I hope I was able to cover it up. It reminded me, though, of other people who are battling with a serious medical condition and yet somehow, amazingly, are upbeat. Practically jovial. You know they can't feel well, yet they see the sunlight in the world rather than the darkness.

Take Chris Decker, the state executive for the Pharmacists Society of Wisconsin. Chris is a fairly young guy in his early 50s. No signs or history of any medical problems. Until a year ago, when he was diagnosed with glioblastoma—a brain tumor with no known cure.

Periodically, Chris writes a blog on the website Caring Bridge. Most of his posts are updates for the many people who care about his condition mixed in with healthy doses of often self-deprecating humor. Chris wears a number of electrified patches on his head to treat the tumors. He has taken to wearing stylish hats that cover the patches. Stylish as they are, I'm sure he'd rather be making his fashion statements in a different way.

No one would blame Chris if he felt like he was dealt a bum hand. Yet, each time I've run into him since his diagnosis and surgery, he's the most optimistic guy in the room. In fact, he references the Optimist Creed to guide his attitude.

Those patches seem to be making a difference. I hope they make a big difference. And, despite the number of battles taking place in pharmacy and throughout the world, people like Chris Decker model for me an optimistic attitude that is able to find what is going well in the world.

Doug Hoey