Thursday, May 22, 2014

I'm just a bill

So what are we doing in Washington, D.C.?!?

The purpose of this pharmacy rotation is to interact with different patients, learn more about German pharmacy law, and collaborate with other health care professionals internationally.  In order to do this, we should have a good understanding of our own United States health care and pharmacy systems. And where better to do that than our nation's capitol?  (Lowell Anderson has some sweet connections)

Before journeying into the Capitol Building, we visited the Library of Congress. 

The group (sans me) outside of the Library of Congress

Library of Congress

Following the LoC, we had a meeting with Congressman Erik Paulsen of MN's 3rd district (reppin BP!).  He told us a little bit about his involvement on the Ways & Means Committee- they deal with budget, taxes, health, etc; and the act he is involved in- "Better Care, Lower Cost", which he hopes will get passed in the Senate by the end of the year.  Paulsen did point out how slow things move in Congress...
After our chat, a staff member gave us a tour of the Capitol building. 
 <-- old Senate Chamber
We were also able to see the Chamber of the House of Representatives, which was packed with Congresspeople casting their votes

From the Capitol, we traveled to a lobby firm to talk to lobbyists Andrew and Ed.  They shared a lot of their knowledge regarding health care policy and politics, and what lobbyists really do.  Andrew summed it up: lobbyists do Politics, Policy, Process, & Personalities. 

Ed explained more about how Walgreen's Pharmacy is urging Congress to co-sponsor legislation for expanding patient access to pharmacists services (the bill is called H.R. 4190), and how creating a coalition (like the Patient Access to Pharmacists' Care Coalition, which includes 22 pharmacy organizations/companies) can help to push the bill onto the floor and set it into motion. 

There is so much time and effort that goes into writing up a bill and then trying to pass it, and then implementing it and helping others understand what it means. 
It's not this easy... 

After meeting with the lobbyists, we visited the Walgreen's new concept store in Chinatown.
About as good as Chinatown gets...

First stop: Washington, D.C.

Today we had almost a full day to explore D.C. so Sarah took us on a little tour (this is her 4th time)...

White House

World War I Memorial

Washington Monument

World War II Memorial

With Sarah, Heidi & Michelle

Jefferson Memorial

FDR Memorial

FDR's dog

MLK Jr Memorial

Korean War Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
Vietnam War Memorial

Einstein Memorial
Heidi learning a little bit from Albert

APhA (American Pharmacists Association) Building