The Biggest Little City in the World

Leaving Las Vegas…well kind of.  I am on an airplane leaving Reno!  Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of addressing new pharmacy owners at the NCPA Ownership Workshop.  It was great!  These guys and gals were so eager and so ready to get home and get to work.

After giving a keynote or CE class I always critique myself.  I think about all the information I delivered and usually think of at least three more key tips or hints or advice I wish I would have offered.  So here are my final thoughts from the workshop.

reno1 First of all the group I spoke with Sunday morning in Reno I believe were having a bit of information overload hangover…or maybe it was a genuine hangover.  Remember I mentioned we were in Reno truth be told.  As I spoke on the topic of Star Ratings and how they effect your pharmacy the pharmacists were feverishly taking notes.  I tried to pause and make directed statements on big points.  Finally a few minutes in heads started to lift.  The pharmacists started to make eye contact with me.  Then I realized they are scared.  These pharmacists are taking a huge leap of faith!  They are going to own a pharmacy.  Of course they want to take notes and soak in everything NCPA is offering them.  My hat goes offto you!  Better yet my prayers.  Community pharmacy can be so rewarding and making the decision to open your own place is amazing!  I can see the apprehension and wish I would have acknowledged their efforts in the setting of Ballroom B or the Ponderosa room (wherever we were on the fifth floor).

During any presentation or CE I love the question and answer session.  Someone once told me the more Q’s there are the more your audience was intrigued.  Let me tell you these pharmacists had some questions.  Again I don’t know if the material I supplied was that exciting or was it simply that they are venturing into the “unknown” and just had many questions!  The best question that came up was

“As a new pharmacy which measures do you think we should focus on?”


and to that her follow up was “What if the prescribers do not accept our recommendations?”

My response was knee jerk as usual during many of my star measures talks…”adherence” and “keep communication open with your clinicians”.

I wish I would have elaborated more.  As pharmacists I think we should focus on things we can directly manage or change.  Follow me here.  Three stars currently focus on adherence.  We can impact this.  Education, refill reminders, packaging, synchronization, the list can continue.  They are already dropping the ACEi/ARB required in Diabetics measure.  I think the trend will continue with our impact being on things we can “control”.  CMR completion rate will be added to the mix.  We can and should be doing this with all of our patients.  How long before other payor (not just CMS) will be holding us to standards?  All to say I think we should do what we do and do it well.  If we show value in our practice we shouldn’t have to worry about our future.

Lastly I could almost kick myself for this one!  I am a huge believer in collaboration.  I believe during my last performance evaluation my manager even told me “you love playing in the sandbox”.  I do!  I believe it is more than important to work together towards goals and visions and many voices can amplify a concise message.  Why oh why didn’t I share my belief with these new pharmacists?!?  I wanted them to take contact information from each other.  Go home and continue the conversation.  Talking to someone who is going through the same experience adds a sense of belonging, a sense of community.  I left the room and wished I would have encouraged a bond between the new owners.  Hopefully, they will stumble upon this post somehow and feel my passion for what they are doing!

I am so thankful for all the opportunities I’ve been given.  I want to make the most of them!  My hope is to always be a voice of the community pharmacist and drive home the idea of community among pharmacists.  Powering down now because the flight crew said so…

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