State associations, APhA discuss provider status

November 12, 2013

Grass-roots successes achieved at the state and local levels support federal initiatives pursued by the national pharmacy organization.

Nearly a dozen state pharmacy associations met this fall with the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) to discuss the challenges and opportunities pharmacists have encountered at the state level and what it may mean for a larger national effort to achieve provider status.

According to Stacie Maass, BS Pharm, JD, APhA senior vice president of pharmacy practice and government affairs for the APhA, executives from 11 state pharmacy associations gathered to share their organizations’ successes, opportunities, and challenges in an open format that supported easy presentation of their individual experiences.

Attendees highlighted pharmacy industry successes such as the recent passage of California's pharmacist provider-status bill, which recognized pharmacists as healthcare providers in the state, as well as other successes such as the state of Washington's ability to pass eight pharmacy bills this legislative session and Tennessee's efforts to collaborate with insurers.

Executives also discussed potential challenges for states such as the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), fiscal concerns associated with the changing marketplace, and passage of legislation on a state level that reflects a collaborative approach to healthcare.

Maass says that although implementation of ACA will present challenges to the healthcare community, it also serves as opportunity for pharmacists to demonstrate their value as part of the healthcare team.

During the September meeting, APhA executives discussed their own efforts at the federal level to achieve provider status. However, Maass said, successes within individual states will play an important role in improving patient access and coverage for pharmacy-care services as well.

According to her, efforts on a federal level are closely intertwined with industry progress at the state level, because state victories help demonstrate the need for pharmacists in the healthcare arena and the value they can provide there.

"We feel like what is happening on the state level is influential within all of our approaches -federal, state, and private - because they all feed into each other," Maass said. "Without this kind of grass-roots activism in the states, any federal-level advocacy will not be successful."