On Tuesday, March 20, students and pharmacists from across the state traveled to the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento, CA to advocate for the pharmacy profession at Legislative Day. They met with legislators to talk about protecting the future and integrity of our profession. This year, for the first time, California Society of Health-System Pharmacists (CSHP) and California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) joined together for a combined Legislative Day. Participants spoke with legislators on three separate bills that will further our profession and increase accessibility of patient care.
Thirty-five students from Pacific joined this event, meeting with other pharmacy students, faculty, and pharmacists. In addition to meeting with legislators, Pacific pharmacy students held free health screenings on the steps of the Capitol as a way to further advocate for our profession and provide free services to the public. Health screenings included blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol testing. This health fair was spear-headed by Barrett Smith ’13, Academy of Student Pharmacists (ASP) Vice President of Professional Affairs.
Legislative Day was a great opportunity for pharmacy students to learn about the legislative process and join the effort to ensuring the future of pharmacy. “The CSHP/CPhA Legislative Day was a great experience that gave us the opportunity to expand our understanding of how a bill becomes a law. In addition, meeting with state legislators allowed us as pharmacy students to take part in advocating for the future of our profession. Because upcoming legislation can have a huge effect on healthcare and pharmacy in particular, it is extremely important that we are actively involved in this process,” said Daniel Da Costa ’14.
The participants discussed several key bills running through the state government with Assembly members and State Senators representing all districts of California. The first bill (AB 377) proposes a centralized off-site pharmacy building that would provide hospitals with bar-coded, filled prescriptions, as a way to reduce medication errors. The next key bill (AB 1447) discussed, if passed, would allow pharmacists to perform some clinical tests on patients without a lab director present. In addition, this bill would allow pharmacies to offer nonprescription tests patients can purchase and administer themselves. By allowing pharmacists to administer more services, it would help increase compliance and cut down on the cost of health care. The last bill, which has not been assigned a bill number, will work to revise the current Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) auditing process, to ensure claims are not retroactively denied due to trivial mistakes or typos. The bills presented not only help improve patient care and drive down prescription costs, but labor to expand the scope of the pharmacy profession.
This event showed the importance of advocating for the profession and becoming actively involved. By coming together, CSHP and CPhA were able to show the partnership between all pharmacists, no matter which field they may choose. Legislative Day was a successful event that will have a great impact on our future.
By Rika Burk ‘14