On March 30, 2017, almost 20 ACCP members, including students from the Howard University College of Pharmacy and the Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy - Shenandoah University, met at ACCP’s Washington, D.C., offices for the fourth annual District of Columbia College of Clinical Pharmacy (DC-CCP) Capitol Hill Advocacy Day. The DC-CCP represents members from across the Washington metropolitan area, including the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. This is the largest group to ever have participated in the Advocacy Day, a testament to the growing presence of the Washington-area ACCP chapter.
DC-CCP Members outside the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill
The day began with an overview of the Capitol Hill lobbying process. The group then made the short trip up Pennsylvania Avenue to the Russell Senate Office Building. Consistent with ACCP’s advocacy priorities, the Capitol Hill visits focused on ACCP’s efforts to establish Medicare coverage for comprehensive medication management (CMM) services delivered by qualified clinical pharmacists.
The first congressional visit was with the staff of Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA). Toomey sits on the Senate Finance Committee, where he serves as chair of the Subcommittee on Health Care. Toomey is therefore one of the most powerful health care leaders on Capitol Hill and is considered to be in a strong position to help advance ACCP’s Medicare Initiative. With two Pennsylvania natives present, the group emphasized this constituent connection in support of the College’s broader CMM message.
Outside the office of Senator Pat Toomey
Staying on the Senate side of Capitol Hill, the next visit was with the staff of Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia who previously served as the state’s governor and is known for his bipartisan approach to legislating and willingness to work with his Republican colleagues. Warner also sits on the powerful Finance Committee, Subcommittee on Health Care. Of importance, Warner also co-chaired (together with Republican Senator Johnny Isakson from Georgia) the committee’s chronic care task force, charged with identifying solutions to improve outcomes for Medicare patients requiring chronic care, an effort perfectly aligned with ACCP’s Medicare Initiative. In the previous Congress, ACCP submitted comments to the task force urging coverage for CMM services as part of the Finance Committee’s broader Medicare reform efforts. During the meeting, the group urged Warner to continue this important work in the current Congress.
Shenandoah University is just a few miles from the West Virginia border, so to continue building on local constituent connections, the group met with the West Virginia delegation: Senators Joe Manchin (D) and Shelley Moore Capito (R). Both lawmakers sit on the Appropriations Committee, before which ACCP’s associate executive director, C. Edwin Webb, Pharm.D., recently testified. Once again, these meetings served as an opportunity to reinforce the CMM message with further substantiation from ACCP members who have firsthand knowledge of patient care.
The group’s final meeting was on the House side with Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, who represents the 10th District of Virginia. Comstock does not serve on a committee with jurisdiction over the Medicare program, but as a former congressional staff member, she has a strong background on health care issues and intricate knowledge of the workings of Capitol Hill.
The fourth annual DC-CCP Capitol Hill Advocacy Day was undoubtedly the best attended and most successful to date. ACCP would like to thank all who participated for their commitment to ACCP’s advocacy agenda. Special thanks go to DC-CCP former president Lisa Peters, Pharm.D., BCPS (clinical pharmacist, Washington Hospital Center), for her hard work on behalf of the DC-CCP chapter.
Any ACCP chapter or individual member interested in visiting Washington to lobby on Capitol Hill should contact ACCP’s Washington office for help in facilitating and supporting advocacy efforts.
For more information on any of ACCP’s advocacy efforts, please contact:
John K. McGlew
Director, Government Affairs
American College of Clinical Pharmacy
1455 Pennsylvania Ave. Northwest
Washington, DC 20004-1017