By all reasonable measures, CPNP members have been at work literally around the clock since returning from Tampa. The burst of energy and enthusiasm that is being demonstrated around the broad rubric of the legislative arena is particularly noteworthy. As those of you who attended the annual meeting are aware, from participating in the pre-meeting workshop, the roundtables, town hall, and other venues at the annual meeting, there is a flurry of action going on around defining the next steps from various groups at CPNP to obtain a mechanism for payment for services. To this end, CPNP has retained the services of Carey Potter, our newly contracted legislative consultant with a long work history of pharmacy legislative advocacy, and are working to determine the best use of her expertise to move our agenda forward. In view of these multiple factors, CPNP leadership has convened post-meeting to develop a cohesive, synergistic plan for proceeding forward in the arena of legislative matters (the broad rubric of reimbursement for clinical services to enable sustainability). The Legislative Committee will be the nexus of much of the activity around the reimbursement and recognition issues as we move ahead.

CPNP has considered the question of “what's it going to take?” to get us where we want to go. Consistent with the Psychiatric Pharmacist Manifesto and the behavioral health integration white paper which have been crafted in recent months, it is the goal of CPNP to achieve pharmacist recognition as a clinical practitioner along with a reimbursement mechanism for comprehensive medication management services. In order to achieve this end, we will deploy Carey Potter, as the legislative consultant, to assist us and extend the reach of what we are doing as an organization in order to be successful in achieving our objectives. Specifically, Carey will be working with CPNP to streamline government affairs efforts as well as to pursue the association's strategic legislative goals which include:

Obtaining payment for pharmacist services.

Gaining inclusion of pharmacists as a requirement for primary care medical home certification status

Requiring pharmacist conducted comprehensive medication reviews for all new patients and at least annually for Medicare Part D plans.

A “Psychiatric Pharmacy Practice Summit” is being coordinated by the CPNP Foundation which will aim to identify the medication therapy management needs of patients with mental illness and the service gaps that exist between what patients are receiving now and what they should be receiving in the future. The “Summit” will serve as a way to begin conceptualizing: 1) what specific pharmacist services should be delivered to patients with mental illnesses, 2) what knowledge and skill requirements are needed of pharmacists in order to be able to provide these services, and to 3) describe what the standard of pharmacy practice should be for serving these patients. The purpose of the summit will be 4-fold. The summit will describe the current practice of psychiatric pharmacy, determine what service gaps exist and propose; will determine the knowledge and skills that are necessary in order for pharmacists to provide these services (competencies and credentials); will determine if additional research is necessary to prove that a unique service provided by competent pharmacists improves outcomes and reduces costs; and will develop an action plan to begin addressing the current knowledge and skill needs necessary for the development of a standard of psychiatric pharmacy practice.

As I stated at the annual meeting, it is a challenging and exciting time as CPNP is committed as an organization to make these goals a reality and pharmacy tries to move to a place where we have long aspired to be. Never before have we seen such an opportunity as is presently before us. I am not yet prepared to say “now or never” but more like, “if not now, when?” It is time to align with our like-minded organizations and do this. Now.

In closing, let me say that it has been a distinct privilege to serve as your CPNP president this year. The support of the membership has been both overwhelming and rewarding. I will be turning over the mantle of leadership to Dr. Rex Lott at the end of June and simply ask that you continue to offer him the same support that I was afforded. As for me, I will continue to labor on with you as a psychiatric pharmacist and fellow CPNP member, working for better quality as well as quantity of life for persons with mental illness and their families. It is our collective calling.

Until next time, I hope you will be well, remain professionally active, and continue to be energized about what we do.