CURBING PATIENT STEERING, RELOCALIZING HEALTHCARE: THE FOCUS OF PUTT’S POLITICAL SUMMIT THIS YEAR IN FLORIDA
PUTT’s annual Political Summit took place this year in Orlando, Florida and featured our most aggressive PBM Reform agenda to date. Everything about this year’s Summit - from its location at an independent hotel and conference center in the heart of one the world’s most competitive markets for multi-billion dollar corporations to our Saturday “free market solution” agenda - was designed to restore the balance of power between small business pharmacies and the predatory multi-billion dollar PBMs who hold our collective fate in their greedy hands.
Highlights from the Summit included a surprise welcome from Harris Rosen, founder and owner of the beautiful Rosen Centre Hotel and Conference Center where the Summit was held. A local business icon, Mr. Rosen’s corporation is featured in Relocalizing Health, a seminal book that makes the case for health care as a “Main Street vs. Wall Street” problem - with Wall Street ever so slightly beginning to lose ground as community businesses begin restructuring their employee benefits healthcare programs to include local small business healthcare providers.
“What if there was ‘Governments United for Truth and Transparency?’,” Mr. Harris noted in his greeting, then went on to expand on the terrible impact COVID-19 had had on the tourism industry and how organizing a local-first approach to Rosen employee healthcare had resulted in lowered healthcare costs and higher employee retention.
Following Mr. Rosen’s welcome, Miguel Rodriguez and Michael Wright of American Pharmacies and the Texas Pharmacy Business Council provided a case study of Texas’ HB 1919 and HB 1763, new legislation with far-reaching effects that make PBM patient steering illegal (HB 1919) and prohibit a punch list of anticompetitive PBM business practices including charging retroactive fees; reimbursing PBM-affiliated pharmacies at a higher rate than non PBM-affiliated pharmacies; preventing pharmacies from delivering prescriptions to patients and charging for that service; and forcing accreditation standards on pharmacies that exceed those of the state’s board of pharmacy requirements in order to be included in the PBM’s pharmacy network.
This year’s legislative panel featured the strongest line up of pharmacy champions yet: Senator James Skoufis (NY) - a third-time panelist for his tireless efforts to protect patient access to their local pharmacies - joined new panelists Senator Nancy Barto (AZ), Senator Fred Mills (LA), Delegate Nicklaus Kipke (MD) and Rep. Jackie Toledo (FL) - an unshakeable voice for PBM reform in Florida following her own troublesome experiences with PBMs.
Summit presenters Trevor Daer of Granite Peak Analytics and Greg Reybold of American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc. spoke on community focused solutions for fair reimbursement and state legislation in a post-Rutledge v. PCMA respectively. Other sessions included strategies for holding effective stakeholder meetings and how the most effective pharmacy organizations create member engagement with very special guests Daniel Martinez of the California Pharmacists Association, Deborah Billingsley of the Oklahoma Pharmacists Association and Randal Johnson of the Louisiana Independent Pharmacies Association.
Unfortunately political strategy isn’t enough, and so Saturday’s agenda focused on the “Relocalizing Care” movement, with keynote speaker Carl Schuessler of Mitigate Partners, a risk management / cost containment / employee benefits consulting firm at the forefront of helping local businesses invest their healthcare dollars in local healthcare providers and, as a result, the local economy.
Saturday’s agenda featured panelists Cindi Reed, Dawn Butterfield, Daniel Martinez and Chuck Gamsu providing insight on how to work with local municipalities and employees to help reduce their prescription drug spend. In particular, Daniel Martinez shared how the California Pharmacists Association has helped their members to work in partnership with local healthcare clinics to develop collaborative practice agreements that allow pharmacies to be paid for providing services related to medication therapy and other clinical practices.
Perhaps thanks to COVID, or maybe because we’re finally joining the technical revolution, this marked the first year PUTT’s Political Summit was held both online and in person. PUTT members can review segments of the 2021 Summit in the Members’ Library of the website, and the session “Secrets of Effective Pharmacy Associations” will be the next episode of the PUTTcast, coming soon.
Our thanks to everyone who attended in person and online, and as always, thank you for your support of PUTT!