Looking to the year ahead

By RON FITZWATER | Chief Executive Officer | MPA

Is it possible that another year is coming to a close and a new one waits just around the corner? According to the calendar, that is exactly what is happening.

I hope that 2011 was a good year for you and your store/practice. There has certainly been no shortage of issues to address once again this year that have had (or will have) an impact on the pharmacy profession. Your Board and the Missouri Pharmacy Association have been working aggressively to try to represent you and your patients on both the state and federal levels to try to address those issues and to create opportunities for Missouri pharmacists to participate in the new health care marketplace.

I want to take this opportunity to thank our members who have once again supported the association by attending meetings and events to get educated about those issues and then using that information to help us address them. We started in February with the 2011 MPA Legislative Day here in Jefferson City. The 2011 session had record attendance as we met to address the key issues that were being debated in the Capitol and then moved over to the Capitol to allow our members the opportunity to meet with theirlegislators to discuss those issues. I appreciate the support of all MPA members who gave up a day of their time to travel to the Capitol to enhance our presence. Also, I appreciate the support we got from all three of our Schools of Pharmacy and the students who attended the meeting. Their presence always adds a unique perspective to the discussions with legislators. Please mark April 11, 2012 on your calendar. That is the day of the 2012 MPA Legislative Day. It will be an even more important session since we anticipate another very aggressive legislative session. We are proposing some very exciting new opportunities for pharmacists. We could really use your assistance as we work to move our agenda in 2012.

In June, MPA hosted the 2011 MPA Annual Convention at the Hilton Branson Convention Center. Again, I appreciated the support and participation of MPA members at this year’s meeting. We were fortunate to have a number of great speakers who discussed a wide variety of state and federal issues impacting pharmacy. We also had a detailed update regarding the exciting Missouri Pharmacists Care Network project that MPA has been in the process of implementing. The meeting also provided our members an opportunity to get an update from the Missouri Board of Pharmacy and to discuss auditing issues with a speaker and representatives from Express Scripts. The 2012 MPA Annual Convention is scheduled for June 14-17, 2012 at the Embassy Suites and St. Charles Convention Center. There will also be a block of rooms available at the Ameristar. We already have a number of state and national speakers confirmed for that meeting. I encourage you to try to attend this exciting event and keep up with the critical issues impacting your profession. We will once again have a detailed report on the activities from the 2012 Missouri Legislative Session as well as an update from Congress in this contentious election year. The meeting will also contain an opportunity for some family fun as we sponsor a Night at Busch Stadium on Friday, June 15 when the Kansas City Royals take on the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. This series will be for the “bragging rights” in Missouri. We have some special events planned at the game. Watch for additional information so that you do not miss this unique opportunity.

Finally, we wrapped up the year in October and November with a series of seven Regional Meetings around Missouri to report on activities of the Missouri Pharmacy Association. I appreciate the MPA members who joined us at one of these meetings to get an update on the association. We also used the meetings to give a report on the Missouri Pharmacists Care Network and to encourage members to sign-up as participants in this unique program. If you need additional information about how you can participate, please contact Drew Oestreich at drew@morx.com.

Thank you for your support. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the entire MPA staff. It has indeed been a pleasure to represent you in 2011. We look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead in 2012.

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