JUNE 24, 2016
A Month on “The Hill”
by Ian Bradley, PharmD (TPA Intern in Spring 2016)
Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy
March was a productive and fast-paced month with the Tennessee Pharmacists Association. The legislature was in full swing during my time here, and Dr. Micah Cost, along with staff, worked diligently with lawmakers to create legislation that advances our profession. A few key pieces of legislation up for debate were: pharmacist dispensing of oral contraceptives via a collaborative practice agreement, implementing an MTM program within TennCare, preventing pharmacy cuts from TennCare, and modifications to the controlled substance database. I was fascinated with the involvement that TPA has in the legislation that ultimately defines the profession. I cannot over emphasize the importance of having a voice for pharmacy at the table while policy is being created.
In addition to the association’s involvement in legislation, I was pleased to learn of the number of services that are provided. The Tennessee Pharmacists Recovery Network (TPRN) is an exceptional program that aids pharmacists who are dealing with substance abuse problems. The network is led by Dr. Baeteena Black, Executive Director Emerita, who graciously volunteers her time and services to helping pharmacists get the assistance they need. This network is a great resource comprised of pharmacists who are at all stages of recovery and can lean on one another.
The TPA is also involved in facilitating pilot programs. During my rotation, the association worked on analyzing data from pharmacies across the state that have partnered with BCBS to offer extended services to diabetic patients. The pilot program used pharmacists to educate patients about nutrition, exercise, disease management, and proper medication use. The results showed a reduction in A1c and an overall healthier patient. The effect of this and other studies is that it allows payers and other members in the healthcare community to view pharmacists beyond the role of a dispensary. This change in perception would be an even greater challenge without TPA.
As a 4th-year student pharmacist, I have been to several sites that offer outstanding healthcare services. Each practice site has its own unique set of challenges and, typically, is a member of organizations and societies with similar interests. One of the downsides to this approach has been a fragmented profession. I encourage all pharmacists in Tennessee to join and be actively involved in TPA. The TPA is a unifying voice for ALL PHARMACISTS.