Make Your Voice Heard…

Legislative dayLegislative Day 2012, an annual event at the School of Pharmacy, was held on October 5, at Aresty Conference Center.

Student legislative affairs directors Daniel Kudryashov, USC chapter of the National Community Pharmacists Association, and Derek Kuwahara, USC chapter of the American Pharmacy Student Alliance, welcomed students and speakers for a slate of presentations and discussion focusing on health care reform and its impact on patient care and the pharmacy profession.

Speakers included associate dean Fred Weissman, who reviewed recent state bills impacting the pharmacy profession, and health economics professor Geoffrey Joyce offering an overview of the Affordable Care Act, including the alternatives should it be repealed and the bill’s likely impact on the pharmacy profession. Joyce is currently the principal investigator on a $12 million innovation grant awarded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which aims to integrate clinical pharmacy services in safety net clinics as a way to improve health outcomes and save money.

California insurance commissioner Dave Jones talked about the many advantages that the ACA provides to patient care, such as the requirement that eighty cents of every dollar be used for direct care. However, he cautioned that the bill still doesn’t adequately bend the unsustainable cost curve for healthcare spending. He told the group that we need to meet patient needs and noted the need to “expand the platforms where we provide primary care and pharmacy is one of those platforms.”

A panel discussion featured Brian Warren, California Pharmacists Association, and Jonathan Nelson, California Society of Health-system Pharmacists, and brief remarks on the profession were provided by Victor Law and Robert Small, representing United Pharmacists Network, an event sponsor.

State senators Ed Hernandez and Ted Lieu outlined the ACA in California and its promise to improve care for more Californians. Senator Hernandez, who is an optometrist, advised, “Join your professional organizations and get involved because legislation is what determines what you can and cannot do in your profession.”

In addition to Kudryashov and Kuwahara, students serving on the Legislative Day committee were Jonathan Palar, Courtney Wong, Anna Bezman and Tadeh Vartanian. Along with UPNI, event sponsors include the USC Graduate Student Government, Albertsons/Sav-on, California Pharmacists Association, South Bay/Long Beach Society of Health-system Pharmacists, RxRelief, and Pharmacists’ Professional Society of San Fernando Valley.

Caption: School of Pharmacy student Daniel Kudryashov welcomes participants to Legislative Day 2012.

Photo by Phillip Sanshuck.