August 10, 2015
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From left, Pharmacy District Manager Jeff Carlen, Liz Rivera, Pharmacy Manager Winn Dixie store No. 736; and Dana Goulet, Constituent Service Representative from Rep. Thomas J. Rooney's office.​

For two years, a number of BI-LO and Winn-Dixie pharmacies have hosted visits from representatives in the U.S. Congress to help improve understanding of the services they offer and the challenges they face today.

Part of that government involvement has been attending the annual National Association of Chain Drug Stores RxIMPACT Day in Washington D.C. in March, said John Fegan, Southeastern Grocers vice president of pharmacy. Another large part has been the NACDS RxIMPACT Pharmacy Tour, which brings elected officials and members of their staffs to store pharmacies.

“We’re being interactive with the legislators, who are members of the communities in which we operate,” Fegan said.

There have been numerous visits in recent months, and congressional representatives discussed pharmacy programs and insurance, among other topics. One important recent subject is the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act, which, if passed, would amend the Social Security Act to allow Medicare to cover pharmacist services to the eligible population.

Already, the effectiveness of the tour is beginning to show—at a May 6 Town Hall meeting, Congressman Ted Yoho spoke highly of his pharmacy tour visit to Winn-Dixie store No. 197 in Gainesville, Florida and spoke of his support for the Pharmacy & Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act.

Some recent congressional visits to Southeastern Grocers pharmacies:

·        On June 8, Constituent Services Representative Dana Goulet of Rep. Thomas J. Rooney's office participated in the pharmacy tour at Winn-Dixie No. 736 in Port Charlotte, Florida.

·        On May 28, Robert Mons, district director for Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-06), met with associates at Winn-Dixie store No. 129 in St. Augustine, Florida.

·        On May 27, associates of store No. 2435 in Plant City, Florida talked to Stephen Gately, field representative for Rep. Dennis A. Ross’ office.

·        On May 22, Andrew Mims, district director for Rep. Tom Rice, visited BI-LO store No. 5116 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

·        On May 21, pharmacy associates of Winn-Dixie No. 506 in Pensacola, Florida met with Tiffany Bates, district representative for Rep. Jeff Miller.

·        On May 21, Sally Tibbetts, district director for Rep. Vern Buchanan, met with associates at Winn-Dixie store No. 2501 in Sarasota, Florida and mentioned her positive impression of the pharmacy following last year’s visit to store No. 657 in Sarasota, Florida, on another pharmacy tour stop.

·        On May 20, Leslie O'Shaughnessy, district representative for Rep. John Mica, visited Winn-Dixie store No. 2233 in Longwood, Florida.

·        Rep. Mark Sanford and staff member Lisa Kindwall visited BI-LO Pharmacy No. 5525 in Beaufort, South Carolina on March 10 and spoke with pharmacy associates about the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act, vaccines, medication access and medication affordability.

Fegan said the tours have been highly valuable and have helped put pharmacy in better touch with decision-makers in government.

“They put the pharmacy teams at BI LO, Harveys, and Winn Dixie in the spotlight on the issues confronting Pharmacy, and provide us with some great working relationships with the legislators,” he said.

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BI-LO store No. 5525 Pharmacy Manager Michelle Hall, right, talks with Rep. Mark Sanford, left, as he visits the store's pharmacy in March. The visit was a part of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores RXIMPACT Pharmacy Tour.

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