How to Set Up Your Pharmacy Visit

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Hosting your Senator or Representative for a pharmacy visit is one of the most powerful opportunities to develop a relationship with them or their staff. It is also one of the most effective methods to impact policies and make a difference for pharmacy. If you have questions or need assistance please contact Michael Spira at 202-429-7507 or mspira@aphanet.org.

 

Goals for the Visit (pick one or two to focus):
  • Develop a relationship with the Member
  • Establish yourself as a resource for accurate information about pharmacy and patient care
  • Provide examples of how pharmacists working with patients have improved health care and decreased costs to the overall system through MTM.
  • Demonstrate how you have been one of the most accessible health care providers in your area
  • Demonstrate your work with Medicare Part D beneficiaries and how your services have protected seniors
Step 1: Scheduling the Visit

Select a location to invite the elected official or their staff to view. Make sure that the pharmacy is in the district of the Member and that you are a constituent by visiting citizens' online congressional directory, Contacting the Congress. Send an initial schedule request to the district office via fax or email, and follow up with a call (see sample invitation letter below). Best times to schedule a visit are a congressional recess.
Make sure to:

  • Always introduce yourself as a pharmacist and constituent (“Hi, I am Amy Smith, a pharmacist from Portland, Maine).
  • Mention where you practice (“I practice at Harry’s Pharmacy on Franklin Street”).
  • Consider whether in advance of your visit you need to include a confidently agreement from all visitors at your practice site for any concerns over liability, confidentiality, and other patient issues. Do you need to inform any staff, administrators, and/ or a public relations department of your Member of Congress visit?
Step 2: Preparing for Your Visit

Once your visit is scheduled contact APhA. Prior to your visit, APhA will assist you in indentifying the key pharmacy issues that your legislator has been involved in and provide you with your legislator’s biographical information. Invite the local media and/or a photographer to cover the event. Invite patients (if possible). Plan to have a short private discussion in a quiet office or MTM area.
Be prepared to answer questions such as:

  • What patient population does your pharmacy serve?
  • Where does most of your revenue come from?
  • What services do you provide? Which are most helpful? Which are the most used? Which are most underutilized?
  • What outcomes have you achieved?
  • What are the challenges you face in serving your patients?
  • What type of demand does your community have for your services?
Step 3: For the Visit

Keep the visit focused to encourage questions and open discussion. Brief the Member of Congress on the patient care services that you provide and the typical patients that you see. Make the connection between your efforts improving your patients’ health and how it should be considered in health care reform or deficit reduction plans.
Make sure to:

  • Tour the pharmacy.
  • Introduce other staff and their role at the pharmacy (ensure that other staff know in advance and use formal salutations).
  • Demonstrate your patient services such health screenings, patient counseling, and immunizations.
  • Give the Member materials to support and explain APhA position on the role of pharmacists in providing patient care services (APhA will provide).
  • Remember to focus on one or two clear messages to the Member of Congress and ask them their position.
  • Take photos.
  • Get contact information for the person to follow-up with.

 

Step 4: Post-Visit

Within a week, send a thank you email detailing highlights of the visit and include any photographs from the visit or copies of any media coverage (see sample thank you letter below). Report to APhA on your visit. This is particularly important if any follow-up is necessary. Also, contact your State Pharmacy Association to let them know that you conducted a site visit. Keep in regular contact with your Member of Congress.

Sample Pharmacy Visit Agenda:
Pre-meeting (Before Visit): Brief all participates on the legislative issues you will discuss and assign roles. Ensure that APhA’s and any other materials are copied and ready for distribution.
Welcome and Introduction: Introduce staff and welcome the legislator. Take photos. Try to find a personal connection to the legislator.
Tour the Pharmacy and Demonstrations: Brief the Member of Congress on the statistics about the typical patient populations that you serve and their needs, what you provide them and how it related to APhA position on increasing the role of the pharmacists. Allow the legislator to question and gather information. Depending on your practice environment, plan on modeling a screening or patient counseling. Show your documenting and billing procedures for this services.
Sit-down Meeting: Discuss legislation and how an increased role for pharmacists in providing patient care services reduces costs. Reinforce Talking Points (APhA will provide). Allow legislator to ask questions Ask them their stance on issues and to support pharmacy.
Thank you and Conclusion: Give your contact information and any materials for the legislator to take with them. Get contact information for staff.

 


Sample Invitation Letter

(Date)

The Honorable (First Name) (Last Name)
(Chamber Name)
(District Office Address)

Dear (Senator/Representative) (Last Name):

I am a constituent pharmacist at (Pharmacy Name), and we serve ___ number of patients in (city name/ county name). I would like to invite you to visit us the next time you’re home. During your visit I would like to show you the preventive patient care services that I provide at my pharmacy and talk with you about how services provided by pharmacists increase the access to and quality of health care while reducing costs.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope that I can schedule a pharmacy visit in the near future. I will follow-up with your staff to identify a time that is most convenient for you. In the meantime, should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at (Phone Number) or (Email).

Sincerely,

(Your Name)

(Title)


Sample Thank You Letter

(Date)

The Honorable (First Name) (Last Name)
(Chamber Name)
(District Address) (Zip)

Dear Senator/Representative (Last Name):

Thank you for taking the time to visit my pharmacy last week. As you saw, pharmacists provide many preventive services that can improve the quality care for many patients.

My hope is that our visit will encourage you to be vocal in advocating for patient access to pharmacist services. I appreciate your commitment to ensuring that patients can continue to have access to better quality care through pharmacists-provided patient care services and that you will consider supporting pharmacist-provided patient care services in (HR 891, the MTM Empowerment Act in the House and S 274 in the Senate, the MTM Benefits Act of 2011).

I would be happy to serve as a resource to you or your staff on any issue as you work on health care or any health issues. I look forward to a continued dialogue.

Again, thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

(Your Name)

(Title)

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