Cyber-attack still harming independents

NCPA May 3, 2024

The Change Healthcare cyber-attack led to significant business disruptions for pharmacies with few exceptions as a direct result of the vertically-integrated nature of UnitedHealth Group. That’s our position, and that’s precisely what we told members of Congress before two separate congressional hearings last week, both of which grilled UnitedHealth CEO Andrew Witty. Independent pharmacies are still struggling daily with operational and financial disruptions months after the incident. For its part, UnitedHealth Group has done the bare minimum to help pharmacy providers in the attack’s wake, echoing comments we supplied to Senate Finance Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.  

“Too much of our health care system is being allowed to flow through gigantic corporate monsters like UnitedHealth. This unfortunate circumstance is proof-positive of that,” said NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey ahead of the hearings. “This entity rakes in a tremendous amount of cash, yet it arbitrarily denies or slow-walks patient care, under-reimburses providers and otherwise makes it difficult to provide health care services, and fails to protect itself and its customers from a catastrophic cyberattack.”  

For a timeline of events related to the Change Healthcare cyber-attack from the perspective of independent pharmacy, click here. For examples of the attack’s effect on patients in North Carolina, click here. And, stay tuned to qAM as we continue to cover the cyber-attack and its aftermath. 

Don’t you forget about me  

Independent pharmacies continue to be a top vaccination destination. However, recent surveys of our members show that the rate independents are vaccinating adolescent and pregnant women falls behind other more routine adult populations. Join us for an engaging discussion called “Don’t You Forget About Me,” as Stanford pharmacist David Ha and UC Irvine pharmacist Keri Hurley-Kim identify best practices for closing health care gaps in these special populations. Additionally, Ha and Hurley-Kim will address vaccine hesitancy in these cohorts and review strategies to promote open dialogue, encourage patient engagement, and ultimately contribute to more successfully engaging this patient population. 

Virtual open house will help you reveal the CORE of your potential 

Ever wonder what a “thought leader” really is? Sure, you’ve seen the term and maybe even read a few things by someone who purports to be one. For Dave Wendland, it’s a title that’s earned, not assumed. “An audience must ‘award’ you that honor,” he wrote in an op-ed for the Forbes Council last year, and the real metric of success isn’t about titles at all. It’s about audience engagement. “From my experience, thought leadership evolves from placing oneself in situations where you can showcase your expertise in a particular industry and impart knowledge that is valuable, relevant and trustworthy. When that is done consistently, over time, you’ll gain a reputation.” 

Wendland is a vice president of strategic relations and one of the co-owners of HRG, not to mention a veteran of the consumer-packaged goods industry for 30 years. He has been passionate about optimizing results across the retail supply chain. A sought-after speaker for industry conferences and frequent editorial contributor, Wendland provides dynamic and thought-provoking presentations and idea-generating articles. He represents thought leadership by example, and it’s an example you can follow as part of NCPA’s CORE program, a revolutionary, year-long training we developed with successful pharmacy owner Scott Pace for all pharmacy owners and their senior staff that will focus on business elements central to your success such as (thought) leadership, finances, operations, and marketing. Registration is now open!   

Interested? This recent episode of our podcast, Independent Rx Forum, features host John Beckner, who dives into NCPA’s CORE. Check it out and register for NCPA’s CORE program through May 31. Still not sure? Remember, you can join Scott Pace and NCPA’s Drew Register for a virtual open house detailing NCPA’s new CORE leadership and business development program on May 8. 

Survey on the availability of drug information resources for pharmacists looking for your input 

A study team from six universities is conducting a survey on the availability of resources about drug information for pharmacists, and they’d like some input if you have 10 minutes. Responses are anonymous and the survey is open until May 17. Questions? Please contact Audrey Kostrzewa ([email protected]) at Concordia University in Wisconsin.  

Editor’s note: NCPA has a new corporate member and sponsor of the NCPA LTC Division — Noritsu Pharmacy Automation, which specializes in pharmacy automation equipment and workflow automation. Check them out today. 


National Tourist Appreciation Day Tour Boat

Pack your bags. Today is something called National Tourist Appreciation Day, and there’s a lot to appreciate about the world’s nations that depend on tourism for economic stability — including Macau, Madagascar, the Maldives, Malta, and Mexico (and that’s just ones that start with the letter M). Tourism within the U.S. is a $200 billion market and, although COVID spoiled everyone’s party in one way or another, analysts see it growing to $222 billion over the next four years. Lots of bands have had something to say about the topic, too. There was St. Germain’s lo-fi 2000 album, “Tourist,” and then there was the 1979 album “The Tourist” by the post-punk band of the same name (who is now long, long forgotten). Sometimes being a tourist means being a passenger (and if Iggy Pop’s 1977 single “The Passenger” comes to mind, you’re not alone), but being one of those invariably means being a traveler, too. In one of his uncharitable moods, Ralph Waldo Emerson once called travel “a fool’s paradise,” and the cranky critic and novelist G.K. Chesterton famously tut-tutted, “travel narrows the mind.” But never mind them. Today is a national day of appreciation, so let’s flip the script on Chesterton and Emerson and invoke the tourist-friendly guidebook author Rick Steves who once wrote, “Travel is rich with learning opportunities, and the ultimate souvenir is a broader perspective.” Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, public domain.