ASHP's Annual Meeting 2001 Offers New Vision for Practice
Continuing Education. More than 35 educational sessions focused on a broad range of pharmacy topics, including several that highlighted innovative methods for drug therapy management and strategies for dealing with professional challenges such as staffing shortages and the implementation of gene therapy services. Representatives from the Food and Drug Administration participated in a session on drug shortages where they discussed the causes behind diminishing supplies. Attendees were also eager to hear from Joseph E. Scherger, M.D., M.P.H., a member of the Institute of Medicines Committee on Quality of Health Care in America. Scherger provided insight into the recommendations offered in the IOMs recent report on the quality of Americas health care system.
The meeting also featured special programming tracks that focused on improving medication safety and leadership development. Other popular sessions included:
- Methods for applying evidence-based medicine to practice,
- New techniques for dealing with antimicrobial resistance,
- Tips for developing a medication safety agenda,
- New medications for use in primary care, and
- An overview of current prescription to generic product switches.
Policy Deliberations. Policy discussions at the two-day session of the ASHP House of Delegates (HOD) focused on a broad range of pressing issues confronting the profession, including technician education, machine-readable coding for single-unit drug product packaging, and restricted drug distribution systems. The delegates also approved a new mission statement and a seven-prong vision statement for the Society that offers a look into an optimal future for health-system pharmacy practice. ASHP officers reported on ASHPs progress in developing programs and initiatives to support the profession. (A separate press release outlines more thoroughly the policy decisions of the House.)
The Societys new officers were installed during the HODs final meeting on June 6. Steven L. Sheaffer, Pharm.D., FASHP, challenged practitioners to help make the Societys vision statement a reality during his inaugural address as the new ASHP President. Brian L. Erstad, Pharm.D., FASHP (Tucson, Ariz), and Bonnie L. Senst, M.S., (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) also were installed for three-year terms as members of the ASHP Board of Directors. Roland A. Patry, Dr.P.H., FASHP, was re-elected to a one-year term as Chair of the House, and Marianne Ivey was elected to a three-year term as ASHP Treasurer.
Campaign Kick-Off. Annual Meeting 2001 also served as the kick-off of a letter-writing campaign in support of S. 974, the Medicare Pharmacists Services Coverage Act of 2001. This bill, recently introduced by Sen. Timothy Johnson (D-S.D.), will amend the Social Security Act to recognize pharmacists as health care providers eligible to bill Medicare. During the meeting, members took advantage of an opportunity to write letters to their representatives in Congress that shared compelling stories about the impact pharmacists can have on patient care and urged support for the legislation.
ASHP is the 30,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, long-term care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP, which has a long history of medication error prevention efforts, believes that the mission of pharmacists is to help people make the best use of medicines. Assisting pharmacists in fulfilling this mission is ASHP's primary objective. The Society has extensive publishing and educational programs designed to help members improve their delivery of pharmaceutical care, and it is the national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs.