NCPA to be "loud voice for community pharmacy" at state and federal levels

May 15, 2011

Soon after taking the reins at NCPA, Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, spoke with Drug Topics' Contributing Editor Christine Blank about his short-term and long-term objectives for NCPA.

Key Points

Before coming to NCPA, he spent 14 years working in community pharmacies that provided patients with home infusion, long-term-care consulting, compounding, and full-line durable medication equipment.

Drug Topics: What are your primary goals for NCPA this year?

Data and quality will be 2 key measures as the new healthcare reform law evolves. We recognize the need to demonstrate that community pharmacists are going to be high performers in lowering overall health costs and improving patient outcomes. We will continue to be a loud voice for community pharmacy on Capitol Hill.

Drug Topics: Which new staff positions are you replacing?

Hoey: In the very near future we will be announcing a new senior vice president of government affairs. That position has been vacant for a couple of months now. [After this interview occurred, NCPA appointed John M. Coster, PhD, RPh, as head of its new NCPA Advocacy Center and as Senior Vice President, Government Affairs.]

Internally, we need someone to fill our general counsel role and our vice president of finance position, which also are vacant. We just filled our grassroots manager position. [At presstime, the identity of the appointee had not been announced.]

Drug Topics: Explain how NCPA will provide additional support to state pharmacy issues this year.

Hoey: So many of the battles we have been fighting, such as the healthcare debate, have migrated from the federal to the state level. We already work with our members to address states' issues, such as threats to Medicaid. There has been momentum around the implementation of managed care into Medicaid. We will be hiring someone to help our current director of state issues to provide resources to our members.

Drug Topics: How do you plan to help pharmacists with medication adherence and medication therapy management (MTM) capabilities and revenue?

Hoey: We want to make medication adherence a core competency for pharmacists by the year 2015.

Pharmacists understand the importance of adherence, but are confronted with so many issues throughout the day. We want adherence to become so viable that pharmacists think it is as important as counseling patients and dispensing medication.

Once we have that critical mass of pharmacists performing these services, then we have the data to approach health plans, manufacturers, and others who are willing to reward pharmacists for these activities.

We have completed some case studies that would make the business case for adherence. We will be presenting these case studies to explain why adherence is not only a good thing, but is profitable. We will release those case studies as they are ready and at our annual meeting in October.

Drug Topics: Which federal legislative issues will NCPA be focusing on?

Hoey: One bill that has not been introduced yet, but we hope will be in the very near future, is legislation that would lead to increased PBM transparency and PBM audits.

The biggest issues our members raise are mandatory mail order, low maximum allowable costs (MACs) on generics, audits, and restricted networks. This legislation would provide a more level playing field for MACs and would require PBMs to reveal the source of the MACs for audits. It would prevent PBMs from recouping claims where there was just a technical error and no fraud.

A second piece of legislation, the Quality Health Care Coalition Act of 2011, would allow healthcare providers to work together for the purpose of negotiation with health plans. It would provide pharmacies a level playing field and ensure that patients have continued access to their community pharmacies.