Associate Dean of Operations and Effectiveness and Chair and Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ryan A. Schneider, R.Ph., Pharm.D., Ph.D., recently completed his one-year term as Ohio Pharmacists Association (OPA) president and stepped into the role of immediate past president. During his term, several goals he set for the organization upon taking the office were realized, including the passage of Ohio Senate Bill 265 which gave provider status to pharmacists, and an increase in the organization’s membership. In the role as immediate past president, he will provide support to the board of trustees and current president, Bridget Groves, R.Ph. Pharm.D., M.S., and assist with long-range planning.
Efforts in the area of advocacy were a highlight of Schneider’s tenure, with OPA Executive Director, Ernest Boyd, and Director of Government & Public Affairs, Antonio Ciaccia, representing OPA’s interests at a state legislative level. The 2017 president, Chet Kaczor, Pharm.D., M.B.A., deemed achieving provider status as a top priority and the organization has worked towards that goal for the past two years. The passage of Ohio Senate Bill 265 allows pharmacists to bill for cognitive services rendered, whereas previously the standard model of reimbursement for pharmacies was dependent on dispensing medication. “In addition to a dispensing role, pharmacists are able to meet many unmet needs in the medical profession,” said Schneider. “Pharmacists are medication experts who can meet with clients to discuss medications, give comprehensive medication reviews, and now they can be paid for those services.” Obtaining provider status is a major milestone and opens the door for growth within the profession.
Empowering organization members to voice their thoughts and opinions is a major part of successful advocacy. Schneider viewed his time as president as an opportunity to meet pharmacists in various roles across the state, and prioritized student engagement. His efforts have been fruitful; student and pharmacist membership numbers have increased. “Being in this role has reaffirmed the importance of advocacy,” said Schneider. “Professional membership allows you to get involved and helps to create the future you want to see, rather than just being told what future you’re going to have.” As immediate past president, he plans to address issues among OPA constituents that have been brought to his attention. Burn out, unpredictable professional expectations, and workplace satisfaction were among the major concerns of pharmacists who reached out to him. With the approval of the executive committee and board of trustees, he has created a workplace task force to further evaluate how the workforce is evolving over time and how OPA can better support pharmacists in the workplace.
OPA is well positioned for the future with a strong staff, executive committee, board of trustees, and group of volunteers who are critical for the success of the organization. “What is accomplished in the one-year period can be a lot or a little, but what is really important is to plant the seeds so they can be harvested in the future,” said Schneider. Moving forward, the group plans to work towards how they can provide support services to pharmacists in the state to adjust to provider status and advocate for more recognition of cognitive services.