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The California Pharmacists Association has appointed Jon Roth its new CEO.
Jon Roth brings an outsider’s point of view to his new role as CEO of the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA). And that outsider’s perspective tells him that pharmacists have only begun to discover how to provide patient care and how to go forward in this era of healthcare reform.
Roth, who has 20 years’ experience in healthcare and healthcare association management, will begin his tenure as CEO of CPhA on Nov. 22, replacing Lynn Rolston, who announced her retirement in May.
Roth comes to CPhA after being executive director of the California Dental Association (CDA) Foundation for nearly 10 years. He was selected from a group of 12 candidates that a search committee whittled down from a pool of 80 applicants. The committee further narrowed the field to 5 candidates who were brought in for interviews. Two finalist-candidates were brought in for second interviews.
Eric Gupta, president of CPhA Board of Trustees and chair of the screening committee, said that the committee found Roth impressive for 2 reasons. He has a solid background as an operations manager, taking CDA Foundation from a startup entity to an organization with a $3.5 million annual budget. He also presented a better understanding of the healthcare landscape than other candidates, especially in relation to healthcare reform.
“He was the only candidate to bring up healthcare reform,” Gupta said. “He showed how he could position pharmacy to capitalize on reform.”
Roth believes that the past decade at CDA Foundation has prepared him for this next challenge. “It provided me with a wonderful opportunity to deal with health professionals who are not currently part of the mainstream delivery system,” he said. “I was in a role where we thought strategically about how we could cultivate relationships to help improve the cost of delivering care and outcomes. That correlates very highly in my role at CPhA.”
He believes he can bring to CPhA a broad perspective when it comes to helping pharmacists in California be more successful in their practices by integrating pharmacy into the mainstream care-delivery system. “I’ve had a lot of experience, especially at CDA, with thinking about how we enhance health professions,” he said. “In this time of change with healthcare reform, there is tremendous opportunity to expand the role of pharmacists.”
Roth described the current state of patient care as hierarchical in nature. A patient gets sick and goes to a physician, an urgent care, or an emergency room. If necessary, a prescription is written and the patient takes it to the pharmacy to be filled. In this system, he believes, pharmacists are underused in patient care. “[Pharmacists] are portioned off as a very specific entity that isn’t tied into the delivery system,” Roth said.
Roth wants to remove those barriers and take full advantage of pharmacists’ skills and training. He thinks healthcare reform is the perfect vehicle to help achieve that goal. The U.S. government anticipates that more than 30-million individuals will become insured by the time the law is fully implemented in 2019. Dovetailing with that is the fact that there will continue to be a shortage of primary care physicians, at least in the short term. “This will impact people trying to access the delivery system,” he said.
He emphasized that pharmacists can have a more active role in providing services in the community. “Pharmacists are already on the frontlines of interacting with patients on a daily basis,” Roth said. “Why not have the pharmacist be the frontline person, providing additional services that can resolve fairly simple medical conditions?”
In addition, Roth said, CPhA can work to bring about consensus on policy by bringing together disparate points of view from both inside and outside pharmacy. “There is an opportunity for the association to act as a convening force,” he asserted. “My role as CEO is to make sure the concerns and issues of [CPhA] members are at the forefront.”