February was a short month, and that seemed to increase the “busy-ness” for CPNP. Now, as April and the 16th Annual Meeting approach there's a tremendous amount happening. Since the theme of this month's letter is “Being Present; Being Heard”, I wanted to update you on CPNP's efforts to increase the visibility and voice of neuropsychiatric pharmacy.

First, many of you may remember that in early March of 2012, a discussion thread appeared on CPNP's listserve regarding concerns about fluphenazine decanoate only being supplied in multi-dose vials. This was leading to wasted drug – during a time of shortage and cost concerns. Members' comments and recommendations led to then President Jerry McKee sending a letter of concern to APP Pharmaceuticals (now a division of Fresenius Kabi) describing our patient care and economic concerns and suggesting that consideration be given to producing unit-dose packages of fluphenazine decanoate with improved labeling. This past week, CPNP was contacted by Fresenius Kabi. Subsequently, Jerry McKee had a lengthy conversation with a representative of that company. The company is performing a serious evaluation of development of unit dose preparations of fluphenazine decanoate. CPNP was heard.

In a second arena, in early February of this year, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius authored an article published on USAToday.com. That article described an initiative by President Obama to open a national dialogue on mental health and to increase access to mental health services while also working to decrease the stigma associated with mental illness. Dr. Charlie Caley, CPNP Foundation President and I, with help from our government affairs consultant, Carey Potter, responded to this article in a letter to Secretary Sebelius. In that letter we described the activities and capabilities of psychiatric pharmacists and offered our help and our experience in the national dialogue; we also described our efforts to develop new models of team-based, patient-centered care that includes Comprehensive Medication Management as a practice model. Once again, we made ourselves present and heard.

Continuing to reinforce CPNP's psychiatric pharmacy manifesto, CPNP Past-President, Glen Stimmel, published a commentary entitled “Psychiatric Pharmacy” in the February 15, 2013 issue of American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy (2013;70:366–367). In that commentary, Dr. Stimmel describes the history of psychiatric pharmacy and the “Psychiatric Pharmacy Manifesto” published by CPNP in 2011. He outlined the basic tenets of the manifesto: our specialty's commitment to patient care and improving outcomes for those affected by mental illness; our relationship with NAMI; our development of community ties; and the under-recognition and under-utilization of psychiatric pharmacists despite our being well positioned to translate advances in neurosciences into improved care for our patients taking psychiatric medication. We owe Dr. Stimmel a “Thank You” for making CPNP and psychiatric pharmacy “present and heard” to our colleagues through this commentary.

Last, but certainly not least, CPNP has increased our visibility and made ourselves heard in the rapidly-developing efforts to gain provider recognition and reimbursement for clinical pharmacists. We are continuing our discussions with ACCP regarding partnering with them in their efforts. We are in the process of converting our existing Legislative Affairs Committee and our Comprehensive Medication Management Reimbursement (CMMR) Task Force into a single Government Affairs Council (GAC). Members of this Council and our government affairs consultant, Carey Potter, have been actively participating in discussions concerning provider recognition which are ongoing agenda items for the Pharmacy Stakeholder's group. Additionally, Ray Love has begun to represent us as a guest attendee at meetings of JCPP (Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners). This group is also actively discussing provider recognition. Our presence is being noted and our comments are being heard.

In closing, a reminder that “early registration” offering reduced rates to the Annual Meeting remain available until March 20. This meeting promises to be filled with exciting, cutting-edge programming as well as multiple opportunities for networking. It's a premier opportunity for members of CPNP to be present and be heard. In addition to the educational programming, there will be opportunities to be present and be heard at Roundtable Discussions as well as at our Annual Town Hall meeting on Wednesday morning. At the Town Hall Meeting, we'll update you on the “State of CPNP” and have an installation ceremony for incoming President, Julie Dopheide. We're looking forward to seeing all of you in beautiful Colorado Springs.

Until next time. Be well.

Rex Lott