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.

Fighting Fire With Knowledge | NCPA Executive Update | September 22, 2017

by NCPA | Sep 22, 2017

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey

My four-year-old son wanted to wash our cars in the driveway last Sunday evening. He insisted that we both wear bright red plastic firemen's helmets while hosing down the cars. I got a lot of strange looks from neighbors passing by.

You and I were trained to be pharmacists, not firemen. Yet, if you're like most pharmacy owners, you're spending big chunks of your work day putting out fires. Personnel problems. Insurance issues. Friendly patients who want to say hi. Demanding patients who want to say "hi." You know all those drills.

Sometimes, though, you need to stop and take a deep breath. You need to think about the future. You need to look into opportunities that can make your business flame-resistant and make your life a little easier.

We've designed the programming at next month's NCPA Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla. with that in mind — with YOU in mind. (By the way, the host hotel, the Gaylord Palms, withstood Hurricane Irma and is open for business.)

One of the infernos pharmacy owners are dealing with is retroactive pharmacy DIRs. At NCPA, we communicate a lot via America's Pharmacist®, this column, and in qAM about what we are doing to affect pharmacy DIRs. So you already know about the legislation, the potential regulation, and our meetings to discuss pharmacy DIRs with the highest-ranking health officials in our government. Our advocacy efforts are having an effect in moving things forward — albeit at Washington, D.C. speed.

Still, in the "here and now," we have some tips and tools to help minimize DIRs' sting. Those tools will be featured in a marquee session at next month's convention. These technology tools don't extinguish pharmacy DIRs, but they can help address their maddening unpredictability. That program is Monday, Oct. 16 at 3:45 p.m.

Of course, pharmacy DIRs are generally tied to pharmacy quality ratings—at least in theory. PQS will be at NCPA's Annual Convention. They'll be offering one-on-one sessions to review your pharmacy's quality scores and offer you suggestions for strengthening your score. These one-on-one sessions filled up quickly, but now PQS has agreed to open up more slots and can take walk-ups at their exhibit hall booth. Bring your scorecard or they can access it right there on the spot.

Another timely program will be about what opportunities (if any) there are for pharmacists with medical marijuana. Last month, I wrote about a member survey NCPA was conducting to find out more about pharmacists' opinions on the subject. We got an excellent response (including 14 pages of free text comments!). Those results will be unveiled in November's America's Pharmacist.

Here are a couple of comments from the survey:

  • "Already legalized here and the detrimental effects are already apparent."

  • "As a pharmacist, I would much rather see our profession embrace the dispensing of medical marijuana than the dispensing of 'medical hydrocodone.'"

The Annual Convention session offers an overview of the business of medical marijuana, its growth rate, current and projected states of legalization, its economic impact, and the possible roles of pharmacists. This session overlaps with the aforementioned pharmacy DIR program, an unfortunate reality of "so many good programs, so little time." With multiple programs running concurrently throughout the convention, it would be well worth your while to consider having more than one person attend.

In addition to all that, we're offering a number of other programs to help clear the smoke from your eyes from the daily fire drill. Tactics your colleagues have used to successfully manage personnel, attracting new customers to your store, and determining how your pharmacy can participate in the mushrooming specialty prescription marketplace are just a few. There will even be a movie premiere, complete with popcorn and refreshments on Sunday night!

Our keynote speaker, Dr. Zubin Damania (aka "Doc Vader"; aka ZDoggMD), will be available to meet after his speech and the unveiling of ZDoggMD's first pharmacy video at the NCPA Pavilion when the Exhibit Hall opens at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15.

Think of this as a fire alarm. I'm asking you to evacuate from your pharmacy for a few days. Make a four-alarm decision to take off your red helmet and come to Orlando, and come back a more strategic and effective hero for your pharmacy.

Doug Hoey

P.S. Speaking of an inferno, The New York Times is asking for stories from consumers who have had difficulty paying for or obtaining prescriptions. More than likely you help patients navigate their pharmacy benefit every day. Encourage your patients to respond.