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NACDS highlights Kroger’s participation in NACDS RxIMPACT

The organization sat down with Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health, to discuss the company's involvement in NACDS RxIMPACT grassroots programs.
nacds interview
nacds interview

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores spoke with past NACDS chair Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health, to discuss the company’s outstanding engagement in myriad NACDS RxIMPACT grassroots programs, including the recent March fly-in event on Capitol Hill.

This year Kroger Health brought the most representatives to NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hillcontributing strongly to an advocacy event that included the participation of more than 300 advocates from 39% of NACDS chain member companies and from all 50 states.

The 2024 grassroots program convened March 13-14, uniting voices from across the nation to advocate on behalf of pharmacies and all Americans. In addition to NACDS member-company engagement, representatives of 58 pharmacy schools attended to advocate on behalf of critically needed pharmacy benefit manager reform and advancement of the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Actpharmacist provider-status legislation.

[Read more: NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill to call for PBM reform legislation]

Here are the following excerpts from's interview with Lindholz: 

Kroger brought the most advocates to NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill in 2024? What went into the decision to engage at this level?
Lindholz: At Kroger Health, we believe in investing in our associates through a variety of impactful and meaningful ways, including our Project Passion initiative. The initiative is a holistic approach to supporting our pharmacists and their teams that reaches far beyond training to address associate well-being, recognition, connection, leadership development, communication, ways of working and learning.

Part of our 2024 Project Passion programming included the opportunity for members of our pharmacy team to travel to NACDS RxIMPACT Day to lobby on Capitol Hill for critical issues impacting patient care and the pharmacy profession. Our pharmacy teams across the country are fully invested in advancing PBM reform and provider status and our leadership team wanted to give them the opportunity to experience and participate in the legislative process firsthand. We realize we can do a lot as an institution but having our pharmacists on the ground in D.C. shows our commitment to influencing decisions that will impact the future of our work and the people who we are called to serve. What reactions did you receive from those who advocated on Capitol Hill for the first time?
Lindholz: The response from our teams was incredible. They were extremely engaged and eager to share their personal stories of how the PBM industry has had a negative impact on their patients and community pharmacies across the nation. They were also excited to share how they provide compassionate care to people every day who may not otherwise have access to quality health care, thus making the point for why they and pharmacists across the country deserve provider status. Being able to see them use their voices to drive change was rewarding for our team and they are looking forward to the next opportunity to get involved with the legislative process. In addition to engaging in the Washington, DC fly-in, Kroger also steps up big in other aspects of NACDS RxIMPACT—like the Congressional pharmacy tour program? What are the benefits of engaging in multiple grassroots programs under the NACDS RxIMPACT umbrella?
Lindholz: Engaging in multiple grassroots programs under the NACDS RxIMPACT umbrella has enabled our providers to advance the legislative process where it matters most: in their own backyards. The best way to demonstrate the impact of a policy to a member of Congress is to show them directly; where their voters shop, receive care, and live. Our pharmacists have eagerly volunteered to host members of Congress and their staff for pharmacy tours and explain the struggles facing the industry while describing how specific policy reforms would impact the very pharmacy they are standing in.

[Read more: Pharmacy groups urge passage of PBM reform legislation in 118th Congress]

Tours we have hosted over the last year have led directly to members of Congress signing on in support of the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act (HR 1770/S 2477), various PBM reform bills and even one member who agreed to lead the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act (HR 6407/S 3297) after her pharmacist tour host walked her through the suite of healthcare services Kroger provides, including Food as Medicine interventions.

We have also used community events like DEA’s National Drug Take Back Day to educate congressional staff on the role pharmacists play in safe medication use and disposal. Finally, we are working with our local leaders to organize attendance at congressional townhall meetings, involvement in state Boards of Pharmacy and even provide tips and support on how to run for state or local office.

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