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.
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.
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 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.
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.