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April Legislative Update

Tips on Inviting Your Legislator to Your Pharmacy

Legislative Update April 2004
Kelly Vyzral, Director of Government Affairs


Tips on Inviting Your Legislator to Your Pharmacy
In the last 25 years, pharmacists have seen their role within the health care delivery system expand from professionals focused on the preparation and dispensing of medications to one in which pharmacists provide a wide range of patient-oriented services geared toward maximizing patient outcomes. Pharmacists are consistently ranked among the most accessible and trusted professionals for their honesty and ethical standards. As a pharmacist you know this, and your patients who come to you for everything from filling a prescription to advice on OTC medicines also know this. OPA thinks itís time to make sure your state legislators are aware of this as well. Itís important for them to know you are a driving force in the community, and that you are the most accessible health care provider and the expert on medication. It is important they understand not only the service you provide by preparing prescriptions and reviewing medication histories, but also the information, counseling, advice and support that people receive when they come into your pharmacy.
The most effective way of making your state legislator aware of your importance in the health care delivery system and to the community is for them to see it for themselves. We urge all of you to go to our website, www.ohiopharmacists.org/leginfo.html, and find out who your state representative and state senator are. Call their office in Columbus, or their home number in the district, and invite them to spend an hour with you in your pharmacy. Let them experience first hand what is involved in your profession. Take the opportunity to explain to your legislators what you do on a daily basis to help patients make the best use of their medications. Show how you help prevent adverse drug reactions. Articulate your efforts to prevent medication errors, and serve as a source of credible, unbiased drug information. We all need to be more politically active. What our lawmakers in Washington and Columbus do directly affects us. If you donít send your message before they act, you canít complain after they have! OPA is working hard to carry pharmacyís message to them, we need your voices to be better heard!


Tips on Conducting Successful Legislative Visits
Few people make an effort to meet with their elected officials face-to-face to discuss issues that are important to them. So few people, in fact, that this is one of the most effective ways you can influence your government. Meeting with your representatives helps put a face on an issue, replacing statistics with real facts. These meetings are also a place where dialogue can happen. Information can be shared, and minds can be changed.

Pointers For a Legislative Visit
  • You Are The Expert-Donít be intimidated by the title ďRepresentativeĒ or ďSenator.Ē Remember that you are the expert in the area of pharmacy. They are looking to you to educate them. Use this opportunity!
  • Do Your Homework-Review all pertinent information, review the legislatorís background, home district, stated positions, public policy interests and know what committees they serve on.
  • Be Polite-You gain nothing by arguing. Stay positive, and thank them for their time.
  • Know What You Are Talking About- Review all information that you will discuss during your visit.
  • Be Honest-If you canít answer a question they have, admit it and promise to get back to them with the information they request.
  • Leave Something Behind-Donít be afraid to give them your business card and ask them to call you if they have any questions or concerns about pharmacy.
  • Remember-Talk about common principles and goals, rather than individual needs.
  • Send a Thank You Letter- Follow up with a thank you letter to the legislator and include any information that you may have promised to give them.

    If you have any questions or comments, please contact Kelly Vyzral, Director of Government Affairs, at 614.798.0037 or kvyzral@ohiopharmacists.org.
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