Independent Thoughts

The Voice of Independent Community and Compounding Pharmacists 

The Alliance is directed by independent community pharmacists and is not obligated or tied to one single buying group or wholesaler. We are working to pass substantive legislation that makes a difference in your small business and community. 

January 18, 2019

Legislative News

PBM Reform Talking Points

We have put together a one-page fact sheet and illustration to help you explain the problem with PBMs and why now is the time for the Legislature to act. It highlights how a few PBMs, owned by health plans and chain drugstores, have seized control of the market.

You can find and print the talking points here. Please do not hesitate to share these with legislators and others in the community who need to hear about PBMs' tactics.

Watch your email every Tuesday for additional grassroots tools from [email protected]

Senate Committees Named

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced Senate committee assignments today, Friday. Most of the key chairmanships stayed the same as the 2017 session, but there were some changes. Notably, Sen. Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham is the new Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, replacing Sen. Charles Schwertner of Georgetown.

Sen. Kelly Hancock will continue to chair the Business & Commerce Committee, and Sen. Jane Nelson will continue to chair the budget-writing Finance Committee. See committee list.

If you have a relationship with any of the Senators and we haven't already heard from you, please contact Ashley Bishop today!

House committee assignments have not yet been announced by Speaker Dennis Bonnen.

Alliance News

Alliance CEO Appointed to Key Committee

NCPA President Bill Osborn has selected our Executive Director/CEO, Audra Conwell, CAE, to serve on the NCPA Committee on State Legislation for a one-year term beginning this April.

As a member of this committee, Audra will participate in NCPA's Committee Forum in April and help represent NCPA and Texas independent pharmacists in visits to Capitol Hill in Washington. She will also participate in regular conference calls with NCPA members from around the country. In addition, all committee members work closely with NCPA's CEO and Board of Directors on initiatives designed to better community pharmacy across the country.

Alliance Members Serve on TSBP Task Force

Alliance members Stephen Coomes and Gamze Strain represented independent pharmacists on the Texas State Board of Pharmacy's Peer Review Task Force. The Task Force, which met earlier this week in Austin, is charged with reviewing and recommending updates to the established Guidelines for Establishing Pharmacist Peer Review Committees to assist organizations or employers in establishing a peer review committee.

The Committee will submit recommendations for the board to review at their February board meeting.

Agency News

Cigna Sends DME Termination Letters to Pharmacies--Update

As a follow up to last week's report of Cigna sending termination notices to DME providers, the Alliance has confirmed with Texas Medicaid Vendor Drug that patients where not notified of the contract cancelations. VDP staff reports that only pharmacies were notified and there wasn't any communication sent to patients that may cause confusion with their pharmacy benefits.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Audra Conwell.

January 2019 NDC-to-HCPCS Crosswalk Now Available

The monthly National Drug Code to Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System Crosswalk for clinician-administered drug processing is now available.

Pharmacy Payment Delay Due to MLK Holiday

There will be a one day delay in traditional Medicaid (fee-for-service), Children with Special Health Care Needs Services Program, and Kidney Health Care Program payments to pharmacy providers because of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday on Monday, January 21.

Claims submitted between January 11 and January 17 will be paid Tuesday, January 22, with deposits available January 24. Claims submitted on or after January 18 will resume on the regular cycle.

State News

Regulatory Rollbacks Mean Progress for Small Business

Walmart pharmacies likely to leave CVS network because of pricing dispute

National News

International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists President

Scott Brunner, CAE, of Alexandria, Virginia, will join the association as executive vice president on March 4, 2019.

Brunner comes to IACP with more than 30 years of experience as an association executive, having led state trade associations in Mississippi, Virginia and Georgia. Most recently, he served as senior vice president, communications and external affairs for the National Community Pharmacists Association. Prior to NCPA, he was CEO of the Georgia Pharmacy Association. He holds degrees from the University of Montevallo and Auburn University at Montgomery, and is a Bessemer, Alabama native.

Grassley Stresses Focus on Prescription Drug Costs

InsideHealth Policy reports, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the new Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said controlling health care costs is his top priority. "For years, I've spoken out about skyrocketing prescription drug costs," Grassley said in an opinion column. "As a fiscal conservative, I believe in strong intellectual property rights to incentivize companies to invest in research and development. I also believe wholeheartedly in free enterprise and the entrepreneurial spirit that drives innovation and opens new frontiers of modern medicine. However, the government has a responsibility to go after companies that engage in unfair business practices and anti-competitive behavior that harms consumers and cheats taxpayers. Congress must have a fundamental commitment to transparency."

Only 8 Days Left: Tell CMS to Eliminate Retroactive DIR

You're in favor of eliminating the retroactive nature of pharmacy DIR fees, right? SO SPEAK UP NOW! You have only 8 more days to comment on a proposed drug pricing rule from CMS, Modernizing Part D and Medicare Advantage to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenses, that eliminates retroactive DIRs -- a move that will bring predictability to pharmacy owners and will certainly reduce costs for Part D patients.

We've made it quick and easy for you to comment on the proposal. Just submit the draft comments we've provided on our grassroots portal. It's only a few clicks -- less than two minutes. You'll find more info on our resources webpage, including a bag stuffer you can use to educate your patients on their potential out-of-pocket cost savings they'll realize under the proposal and a link where they can comment, too.


Support IPRX PAC

We need your HELP building our Political Action Committee (PAC) funds! As we move into the campaign season we need your financial support of the independent pharmacist's PAC (IPRX PAC). We have several events planned to provide financial support and education to pharmacy and small-business friendly candidates and we need your support, so we can give to as many candidates as possible. Contribute Now!

Remember PAC contributions should be personal and not from an incorporated business.



February 25
Legislative Advocacy Training
7 - 10 p.m.
Austin, TX 
Register Now!

February 26
Pharmacy Day at the Capitol
Austin, TX 

NCPA Fly-in
April 10-12
Washington, DC
Register Now

NCPA Annual Meeting
October 26-29
San Diego, CA



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Your Staff

Audra L. Conwell, CAE
Executive Director/CEO
(512) 413-4088

Ashley Bishop, CPhT
Membership Director

Brittani Bilse 
Legislative Consultant

Honorable Jaime Capelo
Legislative Consultant

Robert Culley
Legislative Consultant

Jason Embry
New West Communications



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Independent Thoughts is the 
e-newsletter of the Alliance of Independent Pharmacists of Texas. 


P.O. Box 170323 | Austin, TX 78717 | (512) 260-7986  |