Kathleen Jaeger's Prepared Remarks to NCPA's 112th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition

Kathleen Jaeger’s Prepared Remarks

Opening General Session

NCPA 112th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition

10/24/2010

Thank you Joe for those kind words; as well as the generous and warm welcome.

I am absolutely honored to join NCPA and represent independent community pharmacists and the patients our industry serves. NCPA has a strong culture of excellence and leadership. I will do my utmost to preserve and protect the solid reputation that NCPA has built.

It’s also a great honor to follow in the footsteps of my colleague, Bruce Roberts. No doubt, our future success will be due in no small part to the incredible work of Bruce, NCPA officers and the talented staff of the entire organization.

It’s humbling to think of the path that led me here today. As Joe mentioned, I grew up working in my father’s independent community pharmacy, in a small town west of Boston. I started working for him at the tender age of 6 by rolling up my sleeves and washing the bottom half of the glass front door. Over the years, I moved through the ranks in my father’s pharmacy from managing the greeting cards section to keeping the books. And then from pharmacy intern to pharmacist. Along the way, I learned the fundamental tenets of this industry -- responsibility and trust.

Every day, millions of Americans depend on community pharmacists for quality medication and expert counseling to feel better and lead more productive lives. Every day, each of you effectively and efficiently delivers this critical care to the American public ... care that improves the lives of patients, while substantially reducing overall system costs. As we move forward together, our shared goal must be to ensure that independent community pharmacists continue to be indispensible to patients and America’s health care system. Today, tomorrow and beyond.

Undoubtedly, the challenges in front of us are many, and some complex. The nation’s economic crisis is driving serious debates over health care costs and the federal deficit. As reform is implemented, the country will become even more polarized. And with each passing day, the health care sector grows more competitive.

Yet, while these challenges are great, they present a unique opportunity to help reshape America’s health care system. Indeed, we must capitalize on every opportunity to ensure that the care independent community pharmacies provide is the cornerstone of patient – focused health care.

Our first and foremost objective must be to ensure our patients have access to excellent quality care and pharmacy services in their community. Second, we must continue to demonstrate the tremendous value independent pharmacists deliver to patients and the overall health care system. Third, we must strengthen the financial stability of independent community pharmacies and drive their economic growth. And, last, but certainly not least, independent community pharmacies must be viewed as part of the reform solution.

Yes, this will be a challenging journey. But a journey well worth taking. It will ensure that we make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients and their families while also building a sustainable future for independent community pharmacies. Our industry’s success thus far is a reflection of the dedication of NCPA leadership and strong membership. Yet it’s clear that as we proceed, we will need more member engagement than ever before.

I am pleased and honored to be taking this journey with you. Together, we can confront the challenges we face with optimism and pride – because at the heart of our efforts is a commitment to our patients. And, at the end of the day, no one can take that away from us.

My vision is simple – to build upon the true strengths of our industry and not be shy about letting the world know of our true value to the patients and communities we serve every day. This will be the challenge we face – and I am confident that, working together, we can deepen and strengthen the industry’s visibility and presence, and meet this challenge head on.

I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and working with you all; and I thank you again for the warm reception and this great opportunity.

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