CEO Blog

Published on Tuesday, April 27, 2021

APhA is laser focused on provider status and vaccine confidence ... and there’s more to come

I haven’t had a single “average” day since I became APhA's CEO almost a year ago. We wake up to a new world every morning, and whether we’re energized or exhausted, we confront its challenges and opportunities as they come.

Still, I’m more revved up right now than I’ve ever been, and I want you to be, too.

What am I so excited about? First, Team Pharmacy will again swing for the fences: Medicare provider status recognition. A bipartisan coalition of legislators has introduced the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act in the U.S. House and Senate, and APhA's advocacy juggernaut is about to descend on Capitol Hill. This is big, folks!

Second, APhA is going full bore on COVID-19 vaccine confidence. We’ve teamed up with CDC and other stakeholders to empower pharmacists to boost vaccine confidence with tools that work, communication that resonates, and relationships that move the needle. Rubber is hitting the road.

Tell Congress that we need provider status now
It’s time to get loud, my friends.

The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act will give millions of underserved beneficiaries easier access to lifesaving care, and furthermore, it will create reimbursement opportunities that allow pharmacists to sustainably deliver crucial health services. APhA's Government Affairs team was instrumental in bringing the provider status bill to life, but now the real work begins.

APhA is using our relationships with congressional leaders to vigorously recruit more cosponsors and get the bill in front of the appropriate committees, and we need your help! If we’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that pharmacists add incredible value to the health care system. Tell your Members of Congress that pharmacists deserve recognition now. Ask them to cosponsor the provider status bill or thank them if they’ve already done so. Learn more about how to be a provider status advocate here.

This is a no-brainer. Pharmacists are already compensated fairly for their services in many states across the country. It’s time for the feds at Medicare to catch up to the program and recognize what these states have already learned: Pharmacists provide great care.

Now is the time to aggressively push to get provider status across the finish line. Let’s get it done!

APhA is also taking on vaccine confidence
The public trusts pharmacists, and APhA is collaborating with CDC and other stakeholders to provide pharmacists with education and practice support that empowers them to effectively bolster Americans’ confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines.

This project is all about solutions. Most Americans have received or plan to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but a significant number are taking a wait-and-see approach or say they won’t get vaccinated unless employers, schools, or other groups require it. Others refuse the vaccine altogether. As usual, pharmacists are in the perfect position to reach these patients, as well as those in areas that are underserved due to geography or other inequities. That’s why CDC has tapped us to be its partner.

Vaccine confidence starts with trust. We’ve all heard that interactions with vaccine-hesitant patients require more listening than talking. Our patients’ concerns may not be the ones you expect. Your respect has more influence than your mastery. Facts and compassion must be linked. What you want to say may not be helpful for your patients to hear. This initiative will help you use consistent and evidence-based messages to enhance Americans’ vaccine confidence.

These efforts will endure beyond the pandemic. There is misinformation, skepticism, and fear associated with vaccines, and for many people, with health care in general. When a pharmacist helps a patient become vaccine confident, that encounter can last forever.

We’re excited about our work with CDC and other partners. Stay tuned to see it all unfold.

Even bigger news
Securing provider status recognition in Medicare is fundamental to APhA's mission, and boosting vaccine confidence is one of pharmacy’s most significant public health contributions. There has never been a more potent moment to stand up and claim our territory. We can’t afford to hold back.

This doesn’t mean APhA has pushed our other priorities to the back burner. I promise you that you don’t want to miss what’s coming up next. This is gonna be huge. Watch this space!

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