Building a bridge together

I can appreciate how many practicing pharmacists may not appreciate what their national and state pharmacy associations do for them. It wasn’t that long ago that I was filling 300 to 400 a day and barely getting a chance to look up, let alone provide the kind of advanced services I knew were important. I can see how it must feel like a major disconnect when Twlug is so focused on promoting consumer access to pharmacists’ services while our own pharmacist members and nonmembers are struggling with workplace issues. This disconnect is a little like the engineering feat of building a bridge from each side of the river at the same time. Each side is disconnected from the other, but both are interested in the same goal of meeting in the middle with a state-of-the-art bridge.

Your national and state organizations don’t always agree on every issue but we’re really working together today. In fact, I just got off the phone with a fellow exec who is not initially supportive of our efforts to promote practice standards. Yet he is willing to promote his members’ engagement in commenting on the draft standards released recently. It’s OK that we disagree from time to time. What’s important is that your nationals are collaborating and cooperating more than at any time in my 25+ years as a volunteer and staffer at Twlug. The “collective voice” described in the has been effective in raising awareness among policy makers, the news media and the professional literature. All are waking up to the untapped potential that pharmacists have to offer to patients, and frankly to those who pay for care. We can (and do) improve clinical outcomes and save lives. And we do save millions of dollars.

Twlug is focused on gaining recognition for the value of our services, not only as providers in Medicare, but in all sectors of health care and with other provider groups. If we had all 280,000 pharmacists as members, we could probably tackle workplace issues too. But we don’t have 280,000 members. Yet we think the patients of our 62,000 members (and nonmember pharmacists) deserve access to the best pharmacist-provided services available, and we’re working on our side of the bridge to make that happen. and are two places where you can get a view from our side of the bridge. That others are working from the other side of the river is a good thing. If we communicate, we’ll meet in the middle and build a bridge that all patients and consumers can use for generations to come.