As I look forward to this upcoming year as president, I am in awe of the changes that have occurred over the past few years. We are no longer the same profession as when I first started the practice. Although the product will always be at the core of pharmacy, it no longer defines us. Weare medication experts with the knowledge and skills to care for the individual patient beyond clinical guidelines and provide preventative health to the public.
From being the face of pharmacy at the state level in the response to COVID, to partnering with legislators to address PBM business practices, to working collaboratively with APPKC to implement HB-48, this organization does just as our mission states, advocates and advances the pharmacy profession to improve the health of Kentuckians. Even with all the great things we have accomplished, there is plenty more to do. We continually heard about the collaborations we have formed and are continuing to form throughout the annual meeting. This is so critical to our success. During my year in this presidency, I will work with KPhA to continue collaborating with regulators, legislators, the colleges, our sister professional organization, and others to accomplish our goals.
Several have asked what I want to focus on as president this upcoming year. Honestly, I don’t believe we can be singularly focused. Everything is interconnected. Workplace wellness, a serious issue in today’s pharmacy, is not just about the number of prescriptions filled or ratios of pharmacists to technicians. It is about pharmacists and technicians getting professional satisfaction with adequate financial reimbursement to allow for safe distribution of product and quality patient care. But I have narrowed my focus to three areas to target during my time as president.
- Continue to be vigilant in fighting for equitable reimbursement of product. We had a good run last year with HB 457. Getting that bill out of the house of representatives with an 88-3 vote was nothing short of phenomenal. We did a great job coming together not just as one segment of pharmacy practice, but as a collective group fighting for fair business practices. If this past year taught us anything, it was how all of us have been impacted by negative PBM behaviors. We should be proud of what we accomplished. But we need to continue to move forward with educating legislators and others to pass a bill allowing equitable reimbursement of product.
- Equally important is to be paid for our cognitive services. So, thanks to all the pioneers in the state that have been working to forge ahead into the world of medical coding and billing and having payers recognize us not just as dispensers of product, but as medication experts. We need to continue down this path of making sure all of us are paid for our expert interventions leading to optimal patient care.
- We also need expansion and diversity of the role of our technician support staff. We, as pharmacists, need to spend our time with clinical decision-making and let others do the technical aspects of pharmacy practice.
I am looking forward to this upcoming year as president and the great things we can accomplish together. If you have ideas, I welcome them. Let’s keep this momentum going to all be able to enjoy a level of practice that gives us the professional satisfaction we desire.
In the words of Albert Einstein, “Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” So, let’s keep this great profession moving.