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Working for Arkansas Pharmacists 
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APA Working for Arkansas Pharmacists 

Communications
APA provides timely, relevant and high-quality communications materials to its members, including members-only communications in the following formats:

  • AR•Rx, The Arkansas Pharmacist – APA’s redesigned quarterly magazine.
  • APA InteRxActions – Weekly eNews & fax update.
  • www.arrx.org – APA’s website.
  • Facebook – APA’s presence on the largest social media site in the world.

Continuing Pharmacy Education (CPE)
APA strives to provide quality professional development opportunities for all pharmacists of Arkansas regardless of their practice setting.  In furtherance of this goal, APA offers upwards of 25 hours of live continuing education during the year.  This includes offerings at the APA Annual Convention, held in June of every year, and the APA District Meetings, which are held in September.  APA also holds special CPE events, such as the popular CPE at the Races, which is held in the Spring at Oaklawn Racing and Gaming Park in Hot Springs.  The APA’s Health-System Academy, Arkansas Association of Health-System Pharmacists (AAHP), holds its annual Fall Seminar in October.  Finally, the APA offers the Golden CE program each October to pharmacists who have been licensed in Arkansas for 50 years or more.

Legislative Advocacy
The APA is most often recognized for its work in the political arena.  APA invests time building relationships with legislators and with legislative candidates at the state and federal level.  The APA is often called to testify before committees of the Arkansas General Assembly to describe a potential piece of legislation’s effect on the profession. 

Because the profession of pharmacy is regulated by the states, a solid relationship with the legislature helps to advance and protect our professional issues within the political process.  The APA actively lobbies for issues that are in pharmacies' best interest and opposes issues that may have a detrimental effect on the profession.

The APA also has a state-based political action committee (PAC), the AP-PAC.  The AP-PAC raises money from pharmacists throughout the year and uses this money to provide contributions to candidates and legislators who support the profession of pharmacy.

In recent years, the APA has been successful in passing legislation that has expanded pharmacists ability to immunize, protects pharmacies from predatory audits from the pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), and created a state-wide prescription drug monitoring program for controlled substances.

Medicaid
Arkansas Medicaid is a joint federal/state funded health insurance program that provides benefits to approximately 1,000,000 low income Arkansans, including many children and senior citizens that reside in long term care facilities.  Medicaid provides pharmacy benefits to its recipients.  The APA maintains a close relationship with the administrative team at the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS), the state agency that administers the Medicaid program.  The APA works to preserve patient access to their choice of pharmacy providers, for fair reimbursement for pharmacists, and to help DHS develop innovative programs to help save the state money, such as the evidence-based preferred drug list.

Medicare
Medicare is the federally financed and administered health plan that provides coverage for individuals who are 65 years of age or older; it also provides coverage for disabled individuals.  In 2006, prescription medications began being covered by the Medicare program under the Part D benefit.  APA constantly monitors new rules and regulations that pertain to Medicare and works with our state’s congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., to ensure that problems are addressed in a timely manner.  In addition, APA staff maintains relationships with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency responsible for administering Medicare.  APA also works to develop and strengthen relationships with Part D plan sponsors, such as Community CCRx.

Professional Outreach
The APA actively represents the profession at stakeholder meetings throughout the year.  When a healthcare stakeholder group is meeting, you can bet that the APA will be there to make sure that the voices of pharmacists are heard.  In the past, this has  included meetings about topics such as:  Medicaid payment reform, healthcare reform, e-prescribing, health information technology, electronic medical records, prescription drug abuse and take back programs, and quality assurance initiatives.

APA also actively represents the profession with members and staff of the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy, the state agency that is responsible for regulating the profession of pharmacy.

State & Private Payers
APA works hard to ensure that companies and state agencies that purchase prescription medication for their workforce are educated on the prescription drug marketplace.  APA believes companies that have good information about how the prescription drug marketplace works will make good decisions that result in both allowing the consumer his or her choice of pharmacy provider and to provide a fair reimbursement for the professional & dispensing services that are offered by the pharmacists of Arkansas.

This includes maintaining good working relationships with the insurers in Arkansas, such as Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield and Qualchoice.  In addition, APA maintains strong relationships with the Arkansas Employee Benefits Division (EBD), the University of Arkansas System, Arkansas Medicaid, and other state-based purchasers of prescription benefits.

 

 Top reasons to be a member of the Arkansas Pharmacists Association:

  1. APA’s 2,400 members help shape the future of pharmacy in Arkansas.  Your membership helps to determine the direction of the profession and protects your livelihood.  For almost 130 years, the Arkansas Pharmacists Association has looked after your interests at the State Capitol, with the State Board of Pharmacy, Arkansas Medicaid offices and others.
  2. No other organization looks after the best interests of pharmacists in Arkansas.  The APA represents and speaks for pharmacy before the state legislature and other government agencies.  APA lobbies against unfavorable laws and regulations and for the passage of laws or regulations that will enhance the profession.  In 2011, APA members helped to pass six state laws that favorably impact pharmacy and no new laws were enacted that pharmacists didn’t want. In 2013, four new laws were passed that benefited pharmacists and in 2015 three new laws were passed.
  3. APA staff offers pharmacy expertise.  When you call the APA about a problem, you can reach experienced pharmacists with expertise in pharmacy operations, the legislative and regulatory process in Arkansas, and you can get referrals to contacts with state and national agencies to help your business.
  4. APA offers up to 25 Continuing Pharmacy Education (CPE) credit hours annually.  APA assists its members in obtaining all continuing education credits required by the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy. Whether it is at the Annual Convention, biennial CPE at the Races, District Meetings or elsewhere, APA members have access to excellent CPE opportunities to earn the required 30 credit hours in 24 months.
  5. Stay up-to-date on Arkansas pharmacy through APA’s regular communications.  APA keeps you abreast of the latest news and trends through the weekly fax and e-newsletter APA InteRxActions; and the quarterly journal AR●Rx The Arkansas Pharmacist. InteRxActions delivers news in special editions when needed.  AR●Rx The Arkansas Pharmacist provides news on trends in pharmacy around the state: retail store design, statistics, and other information that will enhance the practice of pharmacy in Arkansas.
  6. Get information, update your record, contact colleagues on www.arrx.org.  APA’s website has links to the information you need to practice pharmacy in Arkansas.  On www.arrx.org you can find background on legislative issues, register for CE, and update your personal information.
  7. Participate in networking events at the Annual Convention and Regional Meetings.  One of the best ways to continue learning the practice of pharmacy is by staying in touch with other pharmacists who experience similar challenges.  APA’s events allow you to meet with colleagues in similar practice settings at social events like receptions, dinners, and other outings.
  8. Sustain the profession through the Arkansas Pharmacy Foundation. The Arkansas Pharmacy Foundation was established to allow professional pharmacists to lead Arkansas pharmacy into the next century. The Foundation is committed to providing financial assistance to qualified students attending the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Harding University Colleges of Pharmacy. The Foundation provides resources that directly enhance patient outcomes; conducts research or provides research grants in a collaborative effort with the Colleges of Pharmacy, creative and innovative practitioners, academicians and/or the pharmaceutical industry; and maintains and enhances high quality patient-focused practice.
  9. Encourage good government through Arkansas Pharmacists Political Action Committee.  The official political action committee of APA is AP-PAC. As a non-partisan political committee, AP-PAC provides an effective way for members to encourage good government by providing financial and political support to qualified candidates within Arkansas. During campaign season, AP-PAC researches each candidate to decide whether to support or oppose the potential lawmaker. AP-PAC financially supports those candidates that best represent the interest of pharmacy.  AP-PAC contributions are voluntary.

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