List of Accomplishments
The Mississippi Independent Pharmacies Association is not only seen as the premiere pharmacy association in Mississippi but we are seen as one of the nation’s top pharmacy associations.
Once again MIPA led from the front of the pack in this legislative session. MIPA sponsored House Bill 777 which was authored by Rep. Forrest Hamilton. HB 777 would allow the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy to continue to license and register Pharmacy Benefit Managers. Mississippi is the only state in the nation that is allowed to license and register PBMs under the board of pharmacy. MIPA originally passed this law in 2011, and this year MIPA made sure that the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy was re-authorized to license and register PBMs. MIPA did include new language to the definition of PBMs that would cover all types of PBMs including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi. With the passage of HB 777, all PBMs will now be licensed and registered with the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy and will also be required to follow the Pharmacy Prompt Pay Act. MIPA, along with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, defeated a measure that would allow the interchangeability of biosimilar and biologic products.
This was one of MIPA’s busiest legislative sessions. MIPA sponsored House Bill 1151, authored by Rep. Forrest Hamilton, to provide that pharmacists are allowed to sell diabetic shoes and DMEPOS items as long as they are accredited by one of the CMS approved accreditation organizations. MIPA passed HB 1151 with great support from the House of Representatives and Senate, and the bill was signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant.
House Bill 1490 was authored by Rep. Forrest Hamilton and sponsored by MIPA. HB 1490 dealt with improving the Pharmacy Audit Integrity Act, which MIPA passed originally in 2008. MIPA strengthened the existing Pharmacy Audit Integrity Act to make Mississippi’s law one of the strongest laws in the nation. HB 1490 was a hard battle between the major PBMs and MIPA, but the independent pharmacist prevailed in the end. The legislature supported HB 1490 with overwhelming support, and Governor Phil Bryant did not hesitate to sign this legislation into law.
MIPA had the great pleasure to work side by side with other pro business groups and associations in passing House Bill 536, which will provide a decrease in the ad valorem tax that businesses pay at the end of a calendar year. This was a great victory for Mississippi businesses, and MIPA was proud to be a part of the coalition.
MIPA also was instrumental in passing Senate Concurrent Resolution 670 by Senator Terry Brown recognizing and encouraging the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to recognize pharmacists as health care providers and as an integral component of health care and patient care in the state of Mississippi.
The Mississippi State Board of Pharmacy asked for MIPA’s help in the passage of the re-authorizing of the Pharmacy Practice Act. This Pharmacy Practiced Act contained new language that would require the pharmacy benefit managers to be licensed by the Mississippi State Board of Pharmacy. MIPA played a vital role in the passage of Senate Bill 2445 and Mississippi became the only state in the nation with this new law. This new legislation is seen as one of the most aggressive moves by the independent pharmacist in protecting their profession and patients. MIPA’s lobbying team of Robert H. Dozier, Clare Hester, LeeAnn Mayo, and Al Sage are made honorary pharmacist by the Mississippi State Board of Pharmacy for the dedication and hard work they have shown to pharmacy over the past ten years.
The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and MIPA jointly worked together to pass legislation that would make pseudoephedrine a controlled substance. MIPA Executive Director Robert H. Dozier worked daily with Director Marshall Fisher of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics for the passage of this legislation. Mississippi is the second state in the nation to adopt this protective measure. Once again MIPA provided leadership to its members in successfully resisting a $12 million cut in reimbursement for prescription drugs due to the state’s claim of a budgetary shortfall. This effort ultimately required the association to file suit against the Division of Medicaid. This litigation was successfully concluded when the Division of Medicaid withdrew its proposed cuts to the pharmacy reimbursements. MIPA also continued the membership recruitment as the previous year and we were able to increase the association’s membership by 15%.
At the beginning of the year MIPA started a very aggressive membership recruitment which consisted of direct mail and statewide district meetings. This new plan helped MIPA increase membership more than 20% in one year. During this legislative session MIPA provided leadership to its members in successfully resisting a significant cut in the reimbursement for prescription drugs due to the state’s claim of a budgetary shortfall. The Mississippi State Supreme Court ruled in MIPA’s favor in the lawsuit to stop the Division of Medicaid State MAC program. This one event that was lead by MIPA saved every pharmacy in the state an average of $36,000 a year.
This was the year that MIPA separated themselves from the rank and file trade associations. MIPA’s legislative efforts paid huge dividends as we were successful in passing the Pharmacy Integrity Audit Act which will provide protection for the Independent Pharmacies against the unfair audit process by the Pharmacy Benefit Mangers and MIPA passed a major piece of legislation against all odds and big PHARMA requiring the major drug manufactures to establish return policies for outdated drugs. MIPA’s greatest success came when the Division of Medicaid created a new State MAC program for the generic reimbursement and MIPA challenged their authority over the creation of this new program. MIPA was successful in the legal battle at the Hinds Count Chancellery level. This lawsuit was appealed to the Mississippi State Supreme Court by the Mississippi Division of Medicaid.
MIPA sponsors a bill to allow the Freedom of Choice for nursing home patients to choose the pharmacy of the choice. Many nursing homes were using a loop hole in the Medicare Part D rules to entice nursing home patients away from Independent Pharmacies. MIPA stopped this process and now nursing home patients have the right to choose the pharmacy of their choice. MIPA also amended the Medicaid Technical Amendments bill to stop the Medicaid Mail-Order program from operation. MIPA’s Executive Director Robert H. Dozier testified before the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee in support of HR 971 Community Pharmacy Fairness Act of 2007. MIPA sponsored a state-wide advertising campaign to promote Independent Pharmacy and their role in Mississippi’s healthcare system.
Many start to take notice of MIPA’s ability to push for legislation for pharmacy. MIPA sponsored the Prompt Pay legislation that is seen today as the most aggressive prompt pay law in the nation. The National Community Pharmacists Association adopts MIPA’s Prompt Pay law as model legislation for other states to use in battling the Pharmacy Benefit Managers.
MIPA survives the major cuts to the generic reimbursement proposed by the
Division of Medicaid.
MIPA’s political power begins to shine as we help with passing Tort Reform and
fight to save our PLAD customers. Robert H. Dozier becomes the new executive director for MIPA.
MIPA amends the Medicaid Technical Amendments Bill to allow the Medicaid Mail-Order Program participants to opt-in or opt-out at any time rather than being automatically enrolled in the program. This amendment saved hundreds of Medicaid patients from being lost to mail-order.
The Mississippi Independent Pharmacies Association was formed by 13
Independent Pharmacist from across the entire state out of response to the Division of
Medicaid cutting the pharmacy program by 25%.