Issues ranging from the Affordable Care Act’s implementation to digital technology’s impact on shoppers and stores were explored at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Regional Chain Conference here.

National Association of Chain Drug Stores Regional Chain Conference, Jim Spencer, Kinney Drugs, Bob Narveson, Thrifty White Pharmacy, pharmacy services, 2014 NACDS Total Store Expo, NACDS Foundation, Steve Anderson, Dennis Wiesner, H-E-B, Tim Weippert

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Inside This Issue - News

Regional drug chains look to future

February 17th, 2014

NAPLES, Fla. – Issues ranging from the Affordable Care Act’s implementation to digital technology’s impact on shoppers and stores were explored at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Regional Chain Conference here.

Conference chairman Jim Spencer, president of Kinney Drugs, cited regional operators’ ability to leverage “our nimbleness and knowledge of local markets in building custom strategies that appeal to our customers, local health care providers and payers,” and the importance of executing those strategies “quickly and with precision.

“A forum such as this, which includes both retail operators and the vendor community, provides a unique opportunity to listen, learn, share and collaborate for the common goal of mutually growing our businesses while serving the wants and needs of our customers and our communities,” he said.

NACDS chairman Bob Narveson, president and chief executive officer of Thrifty White Pharmacies, contrasted today’s emphasis on new pharmacy services with the nearly exclusive focus on dispensing medications that characterized the past.

“Pharmacy is changing, and we have the opportunity to be part of that change, as long as we work together to improve our customers’ health and reduce the overall health care spend for our patients,” he said.

Narveson emphasized that government advocacy remains vital to pharmacy’s cause, mentioning spects of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ recently proposed rule related to Medicare Part D as an example of “our voice being heard.”

He also advised attendees to begin planning immediately for the 2014 NACDS Total Store Expo, saying, “This meeting is all about preparation. It pays to plan ahead and put together the right meetings that can make a difference for you. Now is the time to ensure your trip to Boston — August 23 to August 26 — proves successful.”

“After the show last year, 92% of the attendees who completed a survey said that they would return to the show in 2014,” he added. “That’s amazing, and if you take a look at just the regional chain company representatives who responded, more than 90% said the same thing. So, whether you are a regional chain or one of our partners, this event can work for you.”

Narveson expressed appreciation to supplier companies for their involvement in all NACDS conferences and for “their commitment to the regional chains.”

NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson showcased the work of the NACDS Foundation — a separate charitable organization affiliated with the association that works to improve patient health through partnerships in the areas of research, education and medication management.

“When it comes to setting big goals — like improving public health — and attacking those goals, there are not many examples better than the NACDS Foundation,” he said.

He showed a video, titled “Inspired,” that showcases initiatives supported by the foundation’s grants in the areas of emerging health care models, rapid flu and strep tests, primary medication nonadherence, and evaluating medication management and hospital readmissions.

He demonstrated that the foundation’s work is focused on timely and relevant issues, noting that TV’s Dr. Oz commented on his show that he hopes to see rapid strep tests in pharmacies soon and that preliminary findings from research related to medication management in accountable care organizations and medical homes was published in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy.

Anderson then introduced a panel discussion on the status of public policy issues and on NACDS’ member-focused approach to advocacy. Panelists included Dennis Wiesner, H-E-B’s senior director of privacy, pharmacy and government affairs; Tim Weippert, Thrifty White Pharmacy’s executive vice president of pharmacy; and Carol Kelly, NACDS’ senior vice president of government affairs and public policy. The discussion covered the implementation of the ACA and of the new prescription drug supply chain law, CMS’ proposed rule on Medicare Part D, Medicaid reimbursement and giving “provider status” to pharmacists.