Annual Steering Committee Forum charts ambitious course for 2024

NCPA November 14, 2023

Last week, NCPA hosted the intrepid members of its steering committees for the annual NCPA Steering Committee Forum — some of the best and brightest pharmacy owners from around the country who spent two days helping NCPA keep its finger on the pulse of independent pharmacy. Coming off a productive annual convention in Orlando last month, attendees from six standing committees gathered at NCPA’s headquarters in Alexandria, Va., between Nov. 7 and Nov. 9. There's a lot to talk about, too, with the ongoing arbitration (that member pharmacies can participate in), and a class action lawsuit seeking to recoup millions of dollars for members. But those things form just the tip of the iceberg of what we’re working on for 2024. Here’s a bit more of the story:

The Long-Term Care Committee covered a range of topics focused on how to best advocate on behalf of LTC (and LTC-at-home) practitioners, as well as the connected issue of increasing value of the NCPA LTC Division. Over half of NCPA members, as detailed in this year's NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health, are in the LTC space — and for good reason, because there are no DIR fees and there can be increased reimbursements with this sort of specialty.

The State Legislation and Regulation Committee guided by NCPA’s strategic plan, focused sharply on PBM reform, as well as [EN1] Medicaid Managed Care reform — top priorities for us in lots of state houses across the country. The committee also got into emerging issues related to the workforce such as promoting independent pharmacy practices in schools and refocusing student communications on community based clinical services. Of course, the National Legislation Committee is always poised to influence pro-pharmacy, pro-consumer federal legislation and policies, and this year committee members gathered to advise NCPA on grassroots strategies the organization may employ in the coming year. On the slate were payment reforms in Medicaid managed care to ban spread pricing — and get that initiative across the finish line this Congress — not to mention Medicare Part D reform, which means requiring CMS to define “reasonable and relevant” contract terms and ensure adequate oversight and enforcement. In terms of member engagement, the committee talked about educating NCPA members about the important role the Political Action Committee (PAC) plays and, crucially, how to grow attendance at April’s Congressional Pharmacy Fly-In to advance NCPA’s federal advocacy agenda.

At a high level, the Compounding Committee discussed policies topics such as pet medicine compounding, which the FDA is starting to make moves on. The committee also discussed opportunities to offer more educational materials to members, such as, crucially, engaging them with the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board non-sterile compounding certificate program. Just down the hall, the Technology Committee talked about using technology to help pharmacies run better and take better care of patients. Where DSCSA is concerned, there’s still a knowledge gap in what technologies are available to help them comply.. One of the committee’s big interests is helping members become more proficient in claims reconciliation because, the fact is, it’s not getting simpler.

The Developing Opportunities committee focused its time together on how to create training opportunities for members around “soft skills” to implement new projects and ideas. That could mean time management, or communications, or marketing. This could come in handy for wellness programs or immunization programs, for instance, and it also aligns with the committee’s standing goal of identifying non-dispensing payment opportunities for pharmacies, how-to implement these opportunities into workflow, train staff, and how to work with relevant payers.

Keep reading qAM for more on how these committee issues develop over the course of the year.