Last year, we met DeAnn Mullins at Mullins Pharmacy in Lynn Haven, FL, who was in the midst of her term as President of the National Community Pharmacist Association (NCPA). Her year of meetings, conferences, and speeches is over, and DeAnn is taking time to reground herself and reassess her pharmacy. However, the Florida-based pharmacist remains active within the community pharmacy industry as she looks back on the past year and forward at what is to come.
“As President of NCPA, you have a big microphone, and I have a big passion for pharmacy unity and fixing our broken healthcare system,” she begins. Now that she has passed the presidential duties on to David Smith, DeAnn reflects on the highlights of her one-year term (and grins as she stresses the fact that it will take more than a one year term to save pharmacy). With that in mind, she set out to establish “seeds” that would continue to flourish after her presidency.
Currently, DeAnn sums up the healthcare system in two words: crazy pants. “Along with all the other issues, healthcare in America is miraculous, dysfunctional, mediocre, expensive, and ripe for disruption,” she says. Between over-medicating sick patients and undervaluing healthier practices, DeAnn is one of many pharmacists who wants solutions for the nationwide healthcare crisis. “When we change the design of the system, we change the outcomes,” she asserts. “Until then, I call it ‘crazy pants.’” All great movements begin with a unified message and aggregated mindset, so DeAnn set out to promote these during her campaign.
As part of her initiative to encourage unity, DeAnn began by focusing on strengthening relationships between healthcare providers — physicians, nurses, and pharmacists. Dr. Zubin Damania aka ZDoggMD is a Las Vegas-based physician who represents a large collective of medical clinicians who want to change our dysfunctional healthcare system, and with his help, DeAnn was able to insert community pharmacy into that conversation with over 1 million of his tribe, the ZPAC. With videos like Interview With A Drug Dealer and Just A Pharmacist (which has over 2 million views), Zubin and DeAnn bring the value of community pharmacists to light in order to encourage collaborative practice. “I hear echoes of this messaging, and it’s amazing to me. I hear conversations that I never thought would happen, and I just have to smile,” she says. “It’s fulfilling to embark on a mission, line up what you want to accomplish, then look back and see that you did it.”
As the third woman in 118 years of NCPA Presidents, DeAnn strives to see more female pharmacists in leadership roles. “I have two girls, and I want them to see more women in leadership,” she explains. “I wanted to do my part in fostering the unity of women.” She began with the PharmaShe Think Tank, which she hosted at NCPA’s annual Steering Committee Meeting last May. DeAnn hosted PharmaShe to start a conversation and engage with other members to address the issues unique to women in pharmacy ownership. She continued this conversation in Australia at the Pharmacy Guild’s 2017 Connect conference during a panel session called “Empowering Women in Community Pharmacy.” DeAnn joined five other female panelists in a discussion about supporting women in pharmacy who want to pursue leadership roles, and she continues to support this idea by serving on the Advisory Committee of Cardinal Health’s Women in Pharmacy.
DeAnn continues to encourage unity amongst pharmacists through the Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network, or CPESNⓇ. One of NCPA’s goals is to “take back pharmacy,” and the organization has partnered to form CPESN which empowers states to create their own enhanced services networks. If community pharmacists sign up with their local CPESN, their network becomes even more formidable in the fight against PBMs. It’s going to take thousands of pharmacies coming together under this clinically integrated network,” DeAnn says. “For those folks who are just going to watch and wait on the sidelines, you are gambling with the future of independent pharmacy. This is our shot to build a new payment model, one that is outside of the PBM model.” She urges pharmacists to visit https://www.CPESN.com to learn more about how these networks are fighting against the PBMs. She currently serves as one of Florida’s luminaries and will be available to talk to fellow pharmacists about CPESN at PioneerRx Connect 2018, where she will also be a featured speaker for two class sessions.
As DeAnn becomes more involved with CPESN, she plans on getting Mullins Pharmacy on board with the core services. “We’ve been around for nearly 50 years,” she says, “and we want to be around for another 50 years, so we’re going to have to adapt.” Much has changed for DeAnn and her practice over the past year, yet change and innovation will continue to be the constant driver at Mullins Pharmacy.