There's a time for planning and there's a time for doing—and one of the great things about NCPA's annual Steering Committee Forum is that it's a time for both.
This week, we hosted some of our most committed and creative members here at our headquarters in Washington, D.C., who arrived from around the country to inform NCPA policies. Members of the State Legislation and Regulation Committee, the National Legislation Committee, the Compounding Committee, the Technology Committee, the Developing Opportunities Committee, and the Long Term Care Committee—not to mention their NCPA staff liaisons—put in a lot of hours over two days to debate, discuss, evaluate, and operationalize what we think matters.
Given all that's happening in the news, there was an added urgency and gravity this week while the committees met, doing the hard (and sometimes messy) work of making our best intentions actionable. Why? Making sure we have the pulse of the membership has never been more important than now. NCPA is fighting for its members against PBMs on several fronts—from the big swings at policy in the halls of Congress to the legal strategies in the courts to the everyday support for pharmacists in every state helping their patients navigate a complicated health care system.
The Developing Opportunities Committee was here at NCPA this week, whose members are charged with identifying non-dispensing payment opportunities for pharmacies. On the slate this year was evaluating pharmacy services payment opportunities, how to incorporate them in a workflow, and how to work with payers. Over two days, members focused sharply on the staff training aspect of it all because—let's face it—a good idea can only become a great thing if someone is following through with the work. (It's the classic "U" curve that management consultants talk about.) That notion of scanning the horizon for ways to take effective action today carried over into the work of the Compounding Committee, too, which talked about guidance on GFI-256 for veterinary compounding, as well as guidance on compounding hormones, which the FDA may choose to regulate in the coming years. Right down the hall, the members of the State Legislation and Regulation Committee were also future-casting around workforce issues such as potential staffing requirements and mandatory reporting to state boards of pharmacy.
And, that's what it was like for two days this week. Floor to floor and room to room, NCPA was a hive of activity, and those are just snippets of the discussions that evolved this week on the road to 2024. Inspired by the work of our committees, we're going to continue fighting back against PBM business practices, finding ways to support owners during the DIR hangover, encouraging arbitration through TRUST LLC (and its website, which is easy to remember at www.fightpbms.com), and a dozen other things—for the good of the order, as they say, and I can't think of a more fitting message as we commemorate Veterans Day tomorrow, either.
B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA