Cantrell: 'Now more than ever, our leadership, perspective and voice are essential'
AMCP CEO Susan A. Cantrell, RPh, CAE addressed the AMCP Annual Meeting 2019 General Session on March 26, laying out how AMCP is prepared to meet the challenges of today’s complex health care system. The following is a lightly edited transcript of that address.
Good morning! Welcome to San Diego and to the AMCP Annual Meeting! I am thrilled to be here with you today. Three years ago, when I had the privilege of joining you all for the first time in my role as CEO, I talked about how “cool” AMCP is: How we're willing to try new things. Take fresh approaches. Stay current and even stay ahead of the curve.
Now more than ever, our leadership, perspective and voice are essential. We face a time of tremendous change and uncertainty in health care. The advent of gene editing and digital therapies are game changers. New health care business models are emerging, and we’re on the brink of myriad policy changes that could dramatically change the future of our profession. Mergers are creating new health care organizations that will operate in different ways to deliver care and medication therapy.
And who would have imagined six months ago that #M4A would be a "thing"? Without question, we are in an environment of change. A major driver behind this call for change is the continued rise of health care spending.
CMS projects that national health care expenditures will grow 4.8 percent this year alone to reach $3.8 trillion. And if we stay on this trajectory, CMS is projecting national health spending will reach an astonishing $6 trillion in the next decade to almost 20% of our GDP.
There's no question that medication costs will continue to be front and center in the national dialogue around health care. As HHS Secretary Alex Azar noted last year, “There’s little difference for a sick patient between a miracle cure that hasn't been discovered and one that is too expensive to use.” And that presents both a challenge and an opportunity for managed care pharmacy.
We need to be thoughtful about how we address the complex issue. We have the opportunity to create real solutions for making health care and prescription medications more affordable while ensuring that today's rapid pace of innovation continues. This is one reason AMCP has stepped up our advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill. Earlier this month, 33 AMCP volunteers and staff members spent two days on Capitol Hill meeting with lawmakers in 66 Senate and Representative offices.
We talked with them about the valuable work that AMCP's 8,000 members do every day to ensure Americans get the medicines they need at a cost they can afford.
We told them stories about the tools we use every day to help keep medications safe and affordable.
We talked about prior authorization-- a tool that has been getting a bad rap recently. We set the record straight: Based on sound science, prior authorization is an effective tool to improve the use of clinically appropriate, cost-effective therapies. We also shared ideas for how to improve these processes.
That’s just one example of the messages we are sharing as AMCP works to change the narrative. Doors are opening for these conversations-- faster than ever before. We know the tools of managed care pharmacy work. Legislators need to know that managed care pharmacy holds the answers to lowering medication costs.
How we tell our story is more important than ever. And the AMCP story comes directly from our mission. While we're not changing our mission, we are going to change how we tell our story so that it's compelling to more people.
In a few minutes, our outgoing AMCP president, Mitzi Wasik, and our incoming AMCP president, Jim Kenney, will share the results of a year-long initiative to revitalize and strengthen how AMCP presents itself.
We're excited to share a new look, feel and voice for AMCP that we believe captures the energy, passion and true impact of our profession. This commitment to evolving
the AMCP brand has helped us sharpen our message.
Whether it's in Washington, DC, state capitals, or the doctor's office, we need to make clear the role of managed care pharmacy in health care: We're the people who work to get patients the medications they need at a cost they
That is the unique value we provide. And we need to get that story out. We need to share the positive impact of managed care pharmacy! This makes our work, and the work of AMCP Foundation and the Biologic & Biosimilars Collective Intelligence Consortium (BBCIC) even more important.
You, our members, make sure millions of patients have access to needed medications every day, while remaining good stewards of our health care dollars. I'm proud of the tremendous progress we've made. One of the most rewarding (and enlightening) aspects of examining and refreshing our brand was listening to you -- our members. Our commitment is to continue to listen and evolve AMCP to always meet you where you are.
We're here to help you move forward in your career, give you tools that can help you tell your story and share the remarkable impact we have, individually and as a community of dedicated professionals.
In closing, I'm excited that we're all together here in San Diego. If you look at what's on the official seal of San Diego County, you'd think it was written in support of AMCP and
The seal, which was called out by Theodore Roosevelt when he dedicated the County Administration building here in 1938, reads: “The noblest motive is the public good.” That certainly rings true for all of us who are members of AMCP.