It’s a New Year 013 is here. It’s going to be interesting. While I am 2 tempted to pontificate about bigger issues (gun control,
the debt ceiling, taxes, terrorism, etc.), I will try to limit it to thoughts about the pharmacy world and the computer systems that are such a big part of that world. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare, PPACA, ACA) will have huge impacts. It will affect what each of us does in 2013. It is a massive document that is now law, having survived a Supreme Court challenge. That massive document does not contain all of the details that must be specified during implementation, however. The old saying that “The devil is in the details” is sure to be proven true. The details will be difficult to formulate. Some folks are going to write details that are impossible to implement, others will write details that are stupid. Thankfully, most of the details will be written by smart people who are dedicated to making it all work. I say that because I know from working with people who occupy these positions that most of them are smart, hardworking people who are knowledgeable about what they are working on. However, all of the details proposed will need to be carefully evaluated by the people who have to make them work. The financial impacts, as well as the opera36
George Pennebaker, Pharm.D.
tional impacts, will need examination. That is where you come in. My New Year’s resolution is to download and read (with occasional scanning) the entire PPACA. I strongly suggest that you do the same. Each of us needs to read it with our own concerns and interests in mind. Make notes. Be able to cite the specific section that you find interesting or problematic. We are the experts in many of the elements of the PPACA. We need to exercise that expertise. Do not assume that “George” will take care of any problems. I know George, and he does not know everything — no matter how hard he tries. Then, write! If you see a problem, write it down — clearly and concisely. Then write your solution to the problem. Then have someone else read what you wrote. If it still makes sense, share it with others and send it to HHS. Do not just complain over a cup of coffee. Nothing gets fixed that way. Work with your peers and your professional associations. An association’s job is to make your voice heard. Writing should force you to look at all aspects of an issue. Recognize other people’s interests and concerns, and take them into consideration when you write. The decision-makers have to take everybody’s concerns into