IACP’s Executive Vice President & CEO, David Miller, RPh Introduces New Blog, IACP DConnection

I grew up in a pretty rural area so when it came time to get a job to pay for my first car – a used 1972 Toyota Corona, and yes there was such a thing, four speed manual with an engine the size of a Singer sewing machine – I really only had two choices:  work on a farm or get a job in one of the few small businesses in the area.  I’d done the farming thing so I took a chance at went with the “pharm” instead – a small independent drug store.

Odd how things seem to occur in cycles.  

Given our location, we had a lot of veterinary patients and even now when questions roll into IACP about veterinary compounding,  I think about BagBalm and horses and yes, changing doses for dogs, cats and livestock.  

That drug store had paper profiles and a typewriter.  To this day, I cannot type “table” without having to go back and delete a “ts” on the end.   My fingers have a memory that can’t be changed. 

When Medication Therapy Management was the buzzword in pharmacy during the Medicare Part D debate, I kept thinking “but, we’ve always done that… what’s the big fuss?”  Any of you who grew up or practice in a small community know that your role as the local pharmacist isn’t just about handing out prescriptions, it’s about taking care of your neighbors, your friends, and your family.  You want them to get better.

Fast forward a few years.  

I’m in pharmacy school on my first rotation and the independent store I’m in has a COMPUTER.  Not just a computer but a big hulking thing the size of a washing machine that had to be backed up each and every day.  I learned all about how a computerized patient profile worked a heck of a lot better than cards in big files. The store was a beta-site for 3PM (remember that one?  anybody?) so we got to test out all kinds of new things like printed patient profiles for taxes and inventory reports and the dreaded weekly third-party reconciliation reports. 

My personal dislike for anything related to third-party insurance comes from sitting in a basement every Saturday afternoon matching up line-by-line what we billed and what we got paid.  Each and every week, we found claims that went “missing”… prescriptions that were dispensed, billed and never paid for. 

I spent a lot of time on the phone with third-party “help” desks, writing letters asking for payment (double checking the “table” and “tablet” mistakes), and yes, having to call patients to explain why they had to come back and pay for medicines that their insurance company declined. 

Fast forward a few years – well, a LOT more years — to today. 

I’m still “beta-testing” software, except now it’s not a dispensing program, it’s a new association management system to help IACP better administer our 2,100 members and 155,000 consumer advocates.  Think of it this way – if you’re a member, you have the equivalent of a patient profile. 

I’m not in the basement anymore but I still spend a good part of every day talking to IACP members about problems they’re having with third-parties.  We’re working to make sure compounds are covered by Medicaid and Medicare as well as private insurance plans.  

And I’m still learning new ways of doing things.  Facebook, Twitter (@iacprx) and yes, even this new blog.  All different methods of communicating but essentially the same exact thing I learned at that very first drug store – taking care of a community.  In this case, it’s our community of compounding. 

What’s the goal for IACP DConnections?  Pretty simple.  It’s a way for the IACP staff to let you know about the day-to-day activities of your Academy in a format that doesn’t clog your e-mail.  Highlights about meetings on Capitol Hill, conversations with other members like you, articles both pro and con about compounding in the lay press.  In other words, a little of everything.   For you, it’s a way to ask questions, stimulate debate, and also share information that doesn’t always rise to the level of our Capitol Connections newsletter. 

So… that’s the plan and why we’re starting this blog.  I hope you’ll jump in and participate.  Read, ask, share, raise issues, debate.  Anything and everything.  Just be involved in some way.

In exchange, I promise to hit the spell-check button because yes, I’m still typing “tablets” for “table.”