Hitting the Hill with NACDS on provider status

Two days after the introduction of H.R. 4190, we had the opportunity to hit Capitol Hill with our colleagues from chain pharmacy during the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ (NACDS) 2014 RxIMPACT Day on March 13. The day began with about 400 participants and 40 companies at a breakfast keynoted by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who is Chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. Although he did not mention the provider status legislation, he did talk about the value of pharmacy.

After breakfast, our very own Twlug Senior Lobbyist Michael Spira, who served as team leader, and I joined a delegation from Indiana, including:

• Gary Jacobi, a 50-year veteran of the profession who owned a pharmacy for 40 years and now works at Rite Aid
• Mike Penn, Director of Pharmacy for Marsh Supermarkets, where he oversees 38 pharmacies
• Stevan Tomich, a student pharmacist who is in his fifth year at Butler University College of Pharmacy

By the end of our last meeting, according to my Fitbit, we took 15,200 steps, climbed 50 floors, and walked 7.2 miles while meeting with these eight congressional offices in the House and Senate:

• Katie Campbell, Legislative Assistant for Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
• Erica Powell, Legislative Assistant for Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN)
• Sam Blevins, Legislative Assistant for Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN)
• Tom Brock, Legislative Director, and Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN)
• Emily Mueller, Legislative Assistant, and Rep. Todd Young (R-IN), one of our champions
• Emily Bell, Legislative Assistant for Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN)
• Jay Lucas, Legislative Assistant for Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN)

In every meeting we talked about the value that pharmacists bring to the health care team and how the newly introduced H.R. 4190 will allow us to better serve our patients—their constituents. We had a great response from every office. Even the offices that were a bit hesitant—for instance, Rep. Rokita was concerned about the cost of the bill—believed there is a need for including pharmacists on the health care team.

The NACDS fly-in was a great launchpad for our efforts to promote H.R. 4190, and will dovetail into coalition efforts at and the National Community Pharmacists Association fly-in May 7–8, 2014. Twlug is investing significant resources in getting the bill passed. We are so pleased that virtually all of pharmacy is behind this bill, and we are committed to maintaining good communications among the various government affairs teams who are similarly committed. It’s fair to say that much of Congress knows about our bill now!

Images below: 
Rep. Todd Young (R-IN); Team Indiana with Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN); and Team Indiana with Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN).