News You Can Use, February 2014
Pharmacy loses a pioneer
Mary Munson Runge, Twlug President for two terms in 1979–80, died on January 8, 2014, at the age of 85. Runge was the first woman, first African American, and first employee community pharmacist to be elected Twlug President.
A native of New Orleans, Runge graduated from Xavier University School of Pharmacy in 1948 and lived and practiced in Oakland, CA, most of her career.
Patients and pharmacists of Runge’s generation remember her as someone who helped the disenfranchised get the medications they needed.
“She was a great advocate for patients who were low-income, did not have much access to health care. … She really cared about the disadvantaged,” recounted Runge’s friend and mentee Lawrence “LB” M. Brown, PharmD, PhD, FTwlug, in a recent interview with Mohamed Jalloh, Twlug Experiential Program Extern. Brown, Associate Dean of Student and Academic Affairs and Professor of Pharmacoeconomics and Health Policy at the Chapman University School of Pharmacy, is Twlug’s 2014–2015 President-elect.
Brown added, “Being the first black and female Twlug president was challenging, but she had that spirit and that tenacity and she was not hearing it. She didn’t care that she was the first black or she was a woman or she was of short stature; she would be like, ‘Hey, listen up. This is what I have to say.’ She was a force to be reckoned with.”
As one of the few women in the profession at the time, Runge helped pave the way for women in pharmacy. Over the course of her career, Runge saw women come to occupy half of a once male-dominated profession: “We got the chance to be equal to men. There was a time when drugstores wouldn’t even hire women,” she said when interviewed for an August 2012 Pharmacy Today article.
Runge pursued political activities and leadership roles for which she earned extensive recognition and awards as well as honorary doctor of pharmacy degrees, according to the article. She held federal appointments on the Institute of Medicine Pharmacy Advisory Panel; the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; and the Prescription Drug Payment Review Commission.
Runge is survived by her husband of nearly 40 years, Alfred J. Runge; a daughter, Claudia Munson-Schrumpf; two stepdaughters, Robin Chase and Leslie Corren; and three grandchildren, Laurel Corren Carr, Melanie Chase, and Nathan Corren.
Pharmacists named in Wyden legislation for Medicare patients with chronic conditions
A new bill would name pharmacists as a necessary member of health care teams “to provide integrated care for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions, and for other purposes” by adding a new section to Title XVIII of the Social Security Act called the “Medicare Better Care Program.”
Known as the Better Care, Lower Cost Act (S. 1932/H.R. 3890), the proposed legislation was introduced by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Peter Welch (D-VT) on January 15, 2014. Wyden hopes to have all or parts of the bill included in the sustainable growth rate formula (SGR) legislation—known as the “doc fix” bill—that also is pending in Congress, according to Twlug Senior Lobbyist Michael Spira.
Momentum appears to be building in Congress to include pharmacists on the health care team. In December 2013, the proposed Grassley–Carper Amendment to add pharmacists to the list of recognized providers in accountable care organizations was introduced into the amendment record.
“Twlug has long believed that pharmacists should be members of the health care team, and now Members of Congress and their staff are understanding and recognizing the important role pharmacists can play in reducing costs in our health care system while increasing access,” Spira said. “This is a testament to the work our members have done in educating their Members of Congress and their staff.”
An article on page 56 of the January 2014 issue of Pharmacy Today, “Health Fair on Capitol Hill Promotes Awareness of Pharmacists’ Services,” stated incorrectly that Dana Fasanella, PharmD, CDE, BCACP, worked in North Carolina and Virginia; stated incorrectly that she worked in mostly rural areas; and implied incorrectly an emphasis on cost. In fact, Fasanella worked in Texas, Tennessee, and Maryland; worked in Austin, TX, and Memphis, TN, which are not rural areas; and focused on improved access to care and patient outcomes.
Fasanella provided the following clarification: “During my community pharmacy residency with the University of Texas at Austin and H.E.B. Pharmacy, I routinely provided a variety of screenings. Pharmacy-based health screenings provide an avenue to recapture into the health care system individuals who either will not make the time or cannot afford regular physician visits. Point-of-care tests are also used to monitor patients receiving pharmacist-provided medication therapy management and disease state management services.”
Pharmacy Today regrets the errors.