Pharmacy Advocacy: The Role of CSHP and You

by Thomas Buckley, CSHP Legislative Chair

Advocacy isn’t just about what happens in Washington, D.C. It’s about what you can do close to home as you build relationships with elected officials, policymakers and colleagues. The CSHP Legislative Committee works with the CSHP Board, the CSHP lobbyist and other interested parties around Connecticut to advocate for issues specifically relevant to pharmacy practice. Our lobbyist is Fred Knous, a veteran healthcare lobbyist in Hartford and a former state Senator from Portland, CT. He has tremendous relationships with all legislators and other key policymakers, and is more than willing to help any CSHP member work legislative chair of CSHP, Tom Buckley, was a hospital pharmacist for 18 years, then worked as a medical outcomes researcher with Pfizer, and has been a full-time UConn Pharmacy faculty member for the past 9 years, coordinating their public health curriculum.


CSHP works closely with other pharmacy entities in Connecticut, including CPA, CT-ASCP and other health care entities with interest in legislative or policy initiatives affecting pharmacy practice. CSHP was a leader in developing and passing collaborative drug therapy management (CDTM) legislation, starting with the publication of a White Paper in 1994, through the initial passing of the CDTM bill in 2002, and ultimately the current version of the law in 2012, enabling pharmacists in any practice setting to develop and manage collaborative practice protocols with physicians for any medication or medical condition. CSHP also was very active in immunization administration legislation, allowing pharmacists to provide any immunization on the CDC adult immunization schedule.

CSHP has been continually involved in provider recognition and reimbursement policies for pharmacy practice. This includes working with CT Medicaid and all commercial payers in the state, and with Medicare on the federal level, particularly with the current bill in Congress. Becoming a “provider” in the Social Security Act means that pharmacists can participate in Part B of the Medicare program and bill Medicare for services that are allowed under their state scope of practice. The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592/ S. 109) is bipartisan legislation that will amend section 1861 (s) (2) of the Social Security Act to include pharmacists on the list of recognized healthcare providers. CSHP asks all members to discuss this legislation with their members of Congress (both House and Senate), and ask them to become co-sponsors. Currently in Connecticut, H.R. 592 has 3 co-sponsors (DeLauro, Larson, Courtney), while S. 109 has only Senator Blumenthal as a co-sponsor.


CSHP works closely with our lobbyist especially when the General Assembly is in session. Connecticut has a part-time legislature, meeting during odd years from January to June, while in even years from February to May. However, if CSHP is strongly advocating for new or current legislation that may be seeking a change, the advocacy work required to push legislation to a successful conclusion typically can be a year-round endeavor. This is where the CSHP legislative committee and the CSHP Board cannot possibly accomplish advocacy gains without the grassroots efforts of practicing pharmacists and the CSHP membership. When the word goes out through email alerts or other communication vehicles that an important initiative is occurring that may affect pharmacy practice, your voice, your action in clinical practice, your email, your phone call, or just your interactions with your neighbors play a critical role in advancing pharmacy practice initiatives in our state. Connecticut is blessed to have a very tight pharmacy community, meaning it is a small state with active practitioners and pharmacy leaders. Therefore, very simple actions can create major change.


Lobbying comes in all shapes and sizes, dispositions and attitudes. We lobby because we are the best representative of pharmacy. Legislators cannot possibly be informed of every issue, therefore a responsibility of our job of being a “good steward” of our profession, is to inform legislators about pharmacy. When told the President is a lobbyist for the people, Harry Truman responded: “God knows they need it!” Making an impact in a small state like Connecticut can come from a simple phone call, email, letter, and most effectively through a one-on-one visit – whether it’s at a legislative office, or at your practice site. The CSHP legislative committee and Board will guide you through the process, provide you with all the background information you will need for a specific issue, and set up appointments for you with influential policymakers. There is an old adage on how a legislator interprets communication from a constituent that is particularly relevant in Connecticut: one letter received is “a kook”, 2 letters received is “a kook with a friend”, 3 letters received means “someone had a meeting”, while 4 letters received is considered “a movement.”


Pharmacy advocacy means creating that movement – for your practice, your profession, and most importantly for your patients. The CSHP legislative committee has a long history of understanding health care issues and their relevance to pharmacy practice, and stands poised to work with you to open new doors for pharmacists to use your extensive clinical knowledge to care for your patients.

2018 Legislative Reports

January 2018

submitted by Tom Buckley, RPh, MPH, CSHP Legislative Chairperson

The Connecticut General Assembly is entering their "short session" year, meaning the regular session will run from February 7 through May 9; however, a special session is being held in January to tackle restoring funding for the Medicare Savings Program. Given that this is a short session year and the state's current fiscal situation, there will not be many, if any, opportunities to offer new legislation affecting pharmacy practice, unless there was a fairy tale promise of saving the state millions of dollars.

CSHP will continue to be active, however, in monitoring any legislation that has an impact on pharmacy practice through our "bill book" reviews done by our lobbyist Fred Knous. If you would like to see the bill book as it's produced (initially every few weeks, then weekly as the session produces proposed legislation), please notify the CSHP office.


Note: Our legislative chair, Tom Buckley, is on sabbatical in Cambodia until June 2018, organizing a grant project for patients with diabetes and mental health conditions. In his absence, Eric Tichy has graciously offered to be the local liaison with our lobbyist, Fred Knous, to coordinate any local responses should the need arise. Please contact Eric Tichy anytime with questions on either state or federal legislative activities.

CSHP Advocates for Pharmacy Professionals in CT

CSHP represents you and your interests as a pharmacy professional. We work to create the best possible work environment for all. During the legislative session, our lobbyist and legislative committee track activity and use a service called Bill Book.

2017 Bill Book: June 5  June 2   May 30   May 19  May 12  May 5  April 28  April 14  April 7  March 31   March 24   March 17   March 10   March 3   Feb 24   Feb 18  Feb. 10     Feb. 3      Jan. 31     

2016 Bill Book Archive:   June 13  June 14  June 5    May 6   May 1  April 23 April 15  April 8 April 2  March 24 March 18 March 12  March 4


Legislative Update - May 2017

submitted by Tom Buckley, RPh, MPH; CSHP Legislative Chair


The Connecticut General Assembly has less than one more month to go until the end of the legislative session. It's looking increasingly likely there may be a special session into the summer to address the massive budget deficit that has still yet to be resolved. We continue to monitor bills affecting health-systems pharmacy. Some are still active on the House and Senate calendar, and they await potential floor votes in the coming days.


HB7118: "An Act Concerning Biologic Products"
This legislation allows for a pharmacist to substitute an interchangeable biologic product. It states that no later than 72 hours after dispensing, the pharmacist shall inform the prescriber the substitution has been made. This does not apply to products dispensed by a pharmacy operated by a hospital. However, there has been concern that this window of notification places an undue burden on the pharmacist.


SB552: "An Act Concerning a Standing Order Program for Dispensing Opioid Antagonists"
This legislation authorizes a prescriber to issue a standing order to a pharmacist allowing the pharmacist to dispense an opioid antagonist. The bill keeps the current law of allowing a certified pharmacist to prescribe and dispense an opioid antagonist, but also adds the standing order language. We, along with CPA, do not agree with the addition of the standing order language and feel that it may not allow the prescriber to know when an opioid antagonist is dispensed. There are over 1,000 pharmacists in Connecticut allowed to prescribe and dispense, and this number continues to increase with additional public awareness.


On the federal level, the provider status bill, "Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act", is continuing to add co-sponsors. On the House side (Bill HR592) there are 163 co-sponsors, but only Rep. Larson and DeLauro from Connecticut. If your House member is Courtney, Esty or Himes, please urge them to sign on as a co-sponsor. On the Senate side (Bill S109), there are 35 co-sponsors, and neither Senators Murphy nor Blumenthal are included in this list. As a reminder of the importance of this bill, it would allow pharmacist reimbursement for clinical services under Medicare Part B. Here are the links to the bills in the House and Senate:


Thank you for your continued advocacy for the pharmacy profession. Now, more than ever, your voice and action are needed to advance our profession.

CSHP Initial 2017 Legislative Committee Report

submitted by Tom Buckley, RPh, MPH


The Connecticut legislature convened its 2017 session the first week of January (ending in early June). Already a number of pharmacy-related bills have either been raised or in the process of being raised and readied for a public hearing. CSHP's legislative committee and its lobbyist, Fred Knous, actively monitor the bills most related to health-systems pharmacy practice and will comment and/or bring them to the membership for information, and potentially ask for your advocacy to either support or oppose legislative action.


We also are actively involved in a multi-pharmacy and multi-disciplinary group interested in pursuing reimbursement legislation for medication management activities. At the moment this group, consisting of CT pharmacy organizations, CT schools of pharmacy, and other interested health professionals, are in the discussion phase of any potential legislative initiative for this session.


This activity dovetails nicely with the federal legislation raised in the Senate in early January – Senate Bill S.109, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act, which has received very strong bipartisan support in its earlier iteration in the previous Congress. This bill would bestow pharmacist recognition as a provider under Medicare Part B for medication management services. We will be waiting for the companion House bill to be raised shortly, and will notify you when it may be appropriate to reach out to your Congressional members to support and become a co-sponsor of the bill.


Please contact legislative chair Tom Buckley anytime with questions on either state or federal legislative activities.


CSHP has become a member of Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition (PAPCC), a coalition spearheaded by ASHP that is working to obtain nationwide provider status for pharmacists in the Medicare program. For information about PAPCC, go to   To see who are current members of the coalition (more being added each day), go to

Resolve to Build Support for Provider Status

The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act received strong support in 2015, but there's still much work to do before this provider status legislation can be enacted into law. As the second half of the 114th Congress begins, invite your representative and senators to visit your practice site for an up-close look at the ways you care for patients. Use ASHP's toolkit for tips on how to extend an invitation and plan for the site visit. (source: ASHP NewsLink 12.22.15)

You can make a difference. Please read the May 2015 update, review the attached documents and contact your legislator to share the details of how Medication Therapy Management (MTM) can save money for the CT budget. Our goal is to have this language inserted into the final appropriations bill.

See the link below for members of the Appropriations Committee.

Map, Districts, Representatives with contact information

State Representatives and Senators
A resource to locate and contact your local CT representatives, visit