Faculty, residents and students advocate for the profession

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May 1, 2018

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College of Pharmacy faculty and resident testify in support of bill on provider status

Ohio pharmacists and profession advocates testified in front of the Insurance and Finance Industry Committee of the State Senate in support of Senate Bill 265 for provider status on May 15, 2018. Among this group were faculty and residents from the Ohio State College of Pharmacy, including Jennifer Rodis, Associate Clinical Professor and Assistant Dean for Outreach and Engagement, and Dana Bachmann, Kroger Health & Wellness Community Pharmacist, PGY2 Community Pharmacy Resident, and recent graduate of the MS in Health-Systems Administration program.

Senate Bill 265, sponsored by Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), introduced provider status at the state level which would formally recognize pharmacists as health care providers in Ohio law. The bill seeks to expand opportunities for patients to receive pharmacist care in addition to receiving medicines and makes the case for why the provider definitions and insurance law should match the current role of pharmacists in patient care.

In their proponent testimony, Rodis and Bachmann shared how this bill will positively impact patient’s access to care, improve pharmacists access to positions where they can make a difference, and change the perception of what pharmacists do and how they provide patient care.

Rodis shared that according to the Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO), Ohio ranks 46 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) on health value, landing in the bottom quartile. This means that Ohioans are living less healthy lives and spending more on health care than people in most other states.

“By empowering pharmacists and recognizing them as providers through Senate Bill 265, Ohio can move the needle to improve our health care value and the health of the citizens in our state,” Rodis said.

Bachmann detailed the variety of services she can provide as a pharmacist that are underutilized because of the lack of provider status and coverage by health insurance. This includes immunizations, medication synchronization, medication therapy management (MTM), point-of-care testing (cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure), and disease state management (Diabetes, Heart Healthy, Fitness, Nutrition, & Weight Loss, and Smoking Cessation).

“Senate Bill 265 would offer the opportunity for pharmacists to be recognized as health care providers and overcome significant barriers,” Bachmann said. “Most importantly, provider status will allow us to improve care and outcomes for patients in our communities.”

Student pharmacists advocate on behalf of profession at annual legislative day

This March, more than 200 student pharmacists traveled to the Ohio Statehouse for the Ohio Pharmacists Association’s (OPA) Student Legislative Day. A number of pharmacy students from The Ohio State University attended to advocate for their profession.

Student Legislative Day is an event that allows student pharmacists to open a dialogue with lawmakers and educate them about the value of pharmacists in the world of health care.

Students had the chance to individually visit the offices of legislators to advocate for issues that were important to their profession. This year’s advocacy topics included pricing transparency, improving access for patients to epinephrine and provider status for pharmacists.

“Advocating for yourself, your profession and our public is important. It may seem intimidating at first, but when you realize you are there to try to push the greater good, then it becomes an agenda that you can truly speak to,” said Logan Hunter, Class of 2019 PharmD student. “Putting yourself out there as an advocate helps build yourself personally and professionally and this event truly sets you up for success.”