Freshman lawmaker prescribes fewer regs

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Independent pharmacist Evan Vickers has a lot on his plate. Not only is he in the throes of accreditation, Vickers, owner of both Bulloch Drug and Township Professional Pharmacy in Cedar City, Utah, found time to successfully run for the state House of Representatives. He spoke to HME News about how he plans to work for the interests of small businesses and healthcare providers.

HME News: How will your pharmacy background serve you in your new role?

Evan Vickers: Anytime you’re dealing with health care or running a business, there aren’t that many elected officials who understand either. If you’ve never been there, you don’t know how it works. I can give a real-life perspective - whether it’s meeting payroll or competing against the Walmarts of the world.

HME: As a pharmacist, do you think your opinion will carry more weight on certain issues?

Vickers: No doubt. I am already seeing some of that as we go through committee assignments. I can tell from conversations I’ve had with legislators that they are going to look to me for advice.

HME: What advice would you give the homecare industry on combating fraud and abuse?

Vickers: We’ve got to make sure we clean up our own. If anything can tarnish our image that is it. We need to make certain we are following the rules. Sometimes it’s difficult because you don’t know what they are. As an industry, we need to do a better job of educating our people on what they have to do.

HME: Do you think we need more regulation?

Vickers: I would have a difficult time supporting more. There are some silly things in place. In Utah, we have to identify ourselves as a pharmacist when we answer the phone. You have people putting regulations in place that have no clue what your business is about.

HME: Where do you stand on DMEPOS accreditation?

Vickers: Holy cow. We’re going through it right now to be able to provide diabetic supplies and, in the future, more DME. I don’t mind the process but when the bureaucracy puts together a process that is so voluminous and doesn’t make sense, it’s difficult.