APhA makes 2 executive appointments

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APhA makes 2 executive appointments

By Sandra Levy - 09/14/2020

The American Pharmacists Association has two new executives. Rafael Saenz has been tapped to serve as chief of staff, and Antonio Ciaccia has been named senior advisor for disruptive innovation and practice transformation.

Saenz will have oversight for membership and member relations, health systems and international strategy, meetings and expositions, publications and periodicals, communications and marketing, and creative services.

Saenz received his Doctor of Pharmacy from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy, and his Master of Science in Pharmacy Administration from the University of Wisconsin, while concurrently completing the Pharmacy Administration Residency Program at the University of Wisconsin Hospital.

Between 2011 and 2019, Saenz served as the chief pharmacy officer at the University of Virginia where he oversaw the pharmacy enterprise for the health system. Within this role, he led an expert team that successfully deployed clinical pharmacist services throughout the system, implemented LEAN medication distribution workflows, oversaw a $250 M drug expense budget and created several new business lines for UVA including a full-service specialty pharmacy. Further, he led the expansion of pharmacy residency programs for UVA having tripled availability of positions during his tenure.

Prior to UVA, Saenz served as pharmacy operations manager for UPMC in Pittsburgh. In this role, he had oversight for clinical unit based pharmacy services and retail operations before switching his focus to the pharmacy practice sites within UPMC’s international ventures in Palermo, Italy and Dublin, Ireland. He has deployed clinical services, information technology systems, created supply chains, met regulatory and accreditation requirements, implemented best practices in medication use safety, and launched new pharmacy business initiatives domestically and internationally.

Saenz has served the profession through active membership in several state and national pharmacy organizations. He has served on workforce and education committees with various organizations aimed at increasing the pharmacist and technician scope of practice. In 2015, he was appointed to the Virginia Board of Pharmacy and served as its chair from 2018 to 2019.

"We are privileged to have such a respected and accomplished leader as Rafael join us at APhA,” said Scott Knoer, executive vice president and CEO of APhA. “With him on our growing team, APhA will help our members transform the pharmacy profession with innovative strategies that will grow our organization’s impact and empower our pharmacists across practice sites to care for the patients they serve.”

Working at APhA at this moment in time is unbelievably thrilling,” said Saenz. “The profession is at a crossroads, and I am eager to join the fight to advance the practice of pharmacy, raise the level of awareness of a pharmacist’s ability to positively impact patients across practice sites, and form meaningful relationships with stakeholder groups so that our profession can come together in an unprecedented manner. I believe very strongly in APhA’s vision and approach to creating the necessary change we need, and I am eager to play my part in the creation of a strong, stable, and highly effective organization that serves all of pharmacy.”

APhA also has named Antonio Ciaccia, chief strategy officer of 3 Axis Advisors, as APhA’s senior advisor for Disruptive Innovation and Practice Transformation. This addition will supercharge the association’s efforts to disrupt our broken payment models and drive the profession of pharmacy forward.

Ciaccia and 3AA president Eric Pachman were instrumental in exposing the drug pricing distortions and supply chain inefficiencies embedded in Ohio’s Medicaid managed care program, which led to the discovery of $244 million in hidden PBM spread pricing in just one year. This set off a tidal wave of national scrutiny and reform, and their more recent data analyses have exposed new ways in which middlemen abuse a lack of transparency, poor incentives, conflicts of interest, and unchecked power to undermine patient care and siphon value out of the healthcare system.

“APhA is thrilled to work with Antonio and the team of experts at 3 Axis Advisors in an effort to fuel our work to restore order to the pharmacy profession,” said Knoer.

“We are honored to work with the great team at APhA, who have demonstrated a clear desire to fix a flawed prescription drug supply chain and improve the standard of care in pharmacy,” said Pachman.

In addition to his consulting work with plan sponsors, provider groups, foundations, pharmacy benefit organizations, law firms, and researchers, Ciaccia is also a co-founder of 46brooklyn Research, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the transparency and accessibility of drug pricing data for the American public.

Ciaccia previously served as the government affairs director at the Ohio Pharmacists Association, where in addition to his work exposing PBM waste, he also advanced pharmacist provider status to a point where four out of five of the state’s Medicaid managed care plans redesigned incentives to elevate the role of the pharmacist as a clinical service provider.

“The top priorities of APhA and our members are provider status and PBM reform,” said Knoer. “Antonio not only brings his success in these areas to the table, but his vast experience with and understanding of the issues impacting our front-line community pharmacists. I can’t think of anyone better suited to help us implement our Board’s strategy, blow up the failed payment system, get our pharmacists paid to do what they went to school for, improve the health of society, and reduce overall healthcare spending than Antonio Ciaccia and his colleagues at 3 Axis Advisors.”

“APhA’s leadership is committed to leading the transformative change necessary not only for our profession, but for all of health care, said APhA president Michael Hogue. “Pharmacists are looking for an association that has their backs, and this partnership with 3AA tangibly demonstrates that pfharmacists can count on APhA to fight for them for the patients they serve.”

“Pharmacy’s much-needed moment of disruption is here, and we are eager to drive home the change and be a part of building a better system. I look forward to working with the talented team at APhA to make this vision a reality,” Ciaccia said.

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