ONU HealthWise Pharmacy director Michael Rush, PharmD, in front of the U.S. Capitol.

Ohio Northern University Raabe College of Pharmacy was represented at a July 20, 2023 congressional panel considering federal legislation that, if approved, would impact pharmacists and patients. Michael Rush, PharmD ’05, provided input in support of HR 1770, the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacists Services Act. Impressed by the College’s burgeoning rural health care leadership within its own region, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) asked Rush to speak at the briefing for the bipartisan Congressional Rural Caucus and Congressional Rural Health Caucus.

Rush, who directs ONU HealthWise and pharmacy residency programs and is an assistant professor of clinical pharmacy practice, was the only practicing pharmacist to speak at the briefing held at the U.S. Capitol. He shared information about ONU HealthWise’s rural program offerings, particularly HealthWise Mobile Clinic, which serves Hardin, Hancock, Allen and Logan counties. While offering invaluable hands-on learning opportunities for pharmacy students, too, the mobile clinic has also started to establish working relationships with regional physicians, thereby evidencing the underserved patient-centered benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration.

“APhA and the U.S. House of Representatives were particularly interested in ONU’s COVID-19 response efforts (testing, treating, vaccinating) and the innovative patient care delivery models we've developed through our mobile health clinic to improve access to care in rural areas,” Rush said. “If passed, HR 1770 would create a new pathway for pharmacists to receive payment for services from Medicare similar to a physician or nurse practitioner.”

“It's humbling to see the care models our team has developed here at Ohio Northern showcased on the national stage as an example of what pharmacists can do and why new payment models are needed,” he continued. “I'm very proud to be able to represent the University and the profession of pharmacy in this way.”

“This was an exciting opportunity for us to showcase ONU as a rural health care leader," said Pharmacy Dean Stuart Beatty, PharmD '03.