Government and Regulations

VA Pharmacist Wins APhA Award at Federal Pharmacy Forum

Industry leaders converge at Federal Pharmacy Forum and discuss PHS, DoD and VA pharmacy initiatives.



Ronald Nosek, MS, FASHP, received the 2016 Distinguished Federal Pharmacy award at the Federal Pharmacy Forum held in Baltimore, Maryland on March 4th. The award recognizes a long distinguished career. Mr. Nosek currently serves as the associate chief consultant of pharmacy benefits management services at the VA and also is the national director for the CHAMPVA Meds by Mail Program. Prior to joining the VA, Mr. Nosek spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy and retired as the director of pharmacy at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

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Mr. Nosek also delivered an address at the meeting that updated VA pharmacy activities to about 200 federal pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. “The VA has worked very hard over the years to advance the practice of clinical pharmacists,” Nosek told the audience. “Today we have almost 3,200 pharmacists who practice with a scope of practice, which accounts for about 47% of our pharmacist workforce in the VA. We continue to advance from disease specific-based scopes of practice to practice area scopes of practice.” A July 2015 policy guidance has helped standardize clinical pharmacy practice at the VA.

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RADM Pamela Schweitzer, PharmD, BCACP, assistant surgeon general and chief professional officer for pharmacy at the PHS, discussed Office of the Sugeon General initiatives, including adult immunization, a forthcoming opioid addiction campaign, and tobacco cessation. According to RADM Schweitzer, only 39% of adults have all the universally recommended vaccinations. “This is potentially a crisis if we have an epidemic,” RADM Schweitzer warned. The low rates also extend to health care providers, with just 62% of health care providers having all the recommended vaccinations.

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Dr. George E. Jones, Jr. chief, Pharmacy Operations Division at the Defense Health Agency (DHA) discussed the agency’s efforts to become more patient centric and integrate army, navy and air force systems for greater efficiency Dr. Jones discussed the creation of a medication therapy management (MTM pilot that is now being developed to improve medication use.

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