By Nathan Hanson, PharmD, MS, BCPS; Healthtrust Supply Chain
“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is today.” -Unknown
The 2021 Missouri Legislative Session has ended. We could look at that fact and think that we are too late and missed an opportunity. A more productive mindset is that we are right on time to get started for the 2022 session. Now is the perfect time to begin learning or continue learning about the various processes that lead to change. There are many ways to get involved, at the local, state, and Federal level. This is true for the legislative process, for the regulatory process, and also for the associations in which we participate. Here are some simple and practical ways that you can increase your ability to get involved for the next year and the next 20 years.
It is my opinion that you should know your mayor and your city council leaders. Mark some time on your personal calendar to click around on your local government’s web site to learn who your mayor and City Council members are. Find out when the meetings are, and consider attending one this year. This may not have much of an impact on pharmacy, but I have found that the local government often has the biggest impact on our daily lives. And learning about the government processes at the local level is a good training ground for the next level.
You should also know your state representative, your state senator, and your governor. The state government won’t be in session until January of 2022, but you can learn about your state representatives and senators right now. Simply click on this link and type in your home address in the “Find Your Representative” box. You could also look up the address of your workplace, so that you know the house and senate districts for both locations. I recommend that you copy and paste this information into the document that you save in a folder marked “Involvement.” You can use this document to capture information and ideas and keep it all in one place. Then spend a few minutes clicking on the government web sites of your senator and representative to learn about their background, their committee membership, and the legislation they have sponsored or cosponsored. If you are feeling very brave, you can spend 5 minutes making a phone call to their office. In most cases you will speak to a staff member at their front desk or leave a voicemail. Simply say that you are a hospital pharmacist, and you believe that patients will benefit any time that they are given greater access to the care that pharmacists can provide. Then offer to be a resource for the senator or representative if they ever have a question about pharmacy related issues. These small steps will help you to get involved, and they will show our elected officials that pharmacists are interested in the process.
If you have ideas for ways that the laws need to be changed so that you can take better care of patients, please let us know. This is the time for brainstorming and information sharing, because bills generally need to be filed by December 1st. We can be talking with our partners to see what will fit into the priorities for 2022.
You should know your representative and both of your senators, and you can find this information at the same website. You can reach out to these leaders as well, but they’re certainly a little less available than the state leaders. The best way to engage with the Federal centers and representatives is through the ASHP website. Please take 5 minutes today to enroll on this website so that you can be poised and ready to respond when our responses are needed.
As we are kicking off the 2022 preparation, we would love to have your input. If you aren’t already active on a committee please reach out. We have a lot of exciting plans and a lot of goals we want to accomplish this year. In the public policy committee we have formed task forces to accomplish these aims:
If you are interested in joining, please contact us!
Each year the ASHP House of Delegates reviews a variety of policy statements. You can see these policies here, and you can provide your input to the public policy committee or to the delegates directly. There are also a lot of other ways to get involved out with your section or at ASHP Connect.
Even if you didn’t get involved with legislative day this year, you can easily get involved next year. If you missed your opportunity to weigh in on PBM restrictions, the PDMP bill, or various bills that allow patients better access to medications, you can rest assured that there will be plenty of opportunities next year. Like trees, our progress as professionals can best be measured by the decade. Make this the year where you begin to grow and change and step outside your comfort zone to make an impact for patients and our profession! You may be surprised how much you can accomplish if you do.
Don’t Miss What the Public Policy Committee Has Done!