Island Drug & LaConner Drug Pharmacy Patients:

Medicaid Cuts Could Limit Access to Prescription Drugs.

UPDATE 4/17/09

Great News for Patient Access! DSHS Officially Withdraws April-June 2009 Rate Cut April 17th, 2009- After the federal court issued a temporary restraining order blocking a drastic Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement cuts, DSHS sent out a memo to pharmacies officially rescinding the rate adjustment that was announced in Memo 09-09. DSHS states that they "will take no further steps to in an attempt to implement the new rate that was scheduled to be in effect from April 1, 2009 through June 30, 2009." While this appears to be good news for now, we are investigating the impact this announcement will have on the current litigation. Stay tuned... More importantly, we are awaiting this week's announcement of the 2009-2011 biennium budget and the impact on patient access which could result from those budgetary cuts. The Senate budget included a similar rate cut to AWP-20% while the House budget included a cut to AWP-16%. In addition, both budgets have included possibly removing the funding that paid the co-pays for Medicaid/Medicare dual eligible patients. The legislature is in session through April 26th and they have to compromise on a budget before they leave. Contact them today…they need to hear us!

Contact these key legislative leaders TODAY! Don’t Cut Medicaid Pharmacy Reimbursement and Protect Dual Eligible Co-Pays Senate Leadership:

Democrat Leader – Lisa Brown –

Democrat Caucus Chair – Ed Murray –

Democrat Floor Leader – Tracey Eide – House of Representatives Leadership:

Speaker Frank Chopp –

Democrat Leader Lynn Kessler – Key Budget Writers:

Senator Rodney Tom –

Senator Margarita Prentice –

Senator Craig Pridemore –

Senator Karen Keiser –

Representative Kelli Linville –

Representative Mark Ericks –

Representative Eric Pettigrew –

Representative Hans Dunshee –


UPDATE: 3/31/09
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan has issued a  Temporary Restraining Order against the state which puts these cuts on hold until a full hearing can take place next week.  Thank you for all of your support to date as it has made a difference, however we have only cleared the first hurdle. 
Updates will be posted here as they become available.

  1. We are fully committed to serving Medicaid Clients as always, however these cuts pose serious threats to the breadth of services we provide, such as our Delivery Service, or to the number or staff we are able to employ.

  2. The Governor NEEDS to hear that these cuts could have vast negative impacts for ALL customers of ALL Washington Pharmacies

  3. These cuts are avoidable as Washington has already received money specifically targeted to prevent these types of harmful actions:

  • The State of Washington has received $339,330,717.00 from the Federal Stimulus Package that was intended to be used for State Medicaid funding ONLY.

  •       According to Title V section 5000 of that Act, the purpose of those dollars is “To protect and maintain State Medicaid programs… by helping to avert cuts to provider payment rates…”.

Below is some general information; click here for FAQ's and click here for Myths and Facts

Please ask a clerk at the pharmacy counter upon your next visit to participate in our signature gathering effort as we work collectively to ensure Governor Gregoire hears directly from the people that would be negatively impacted by these damaging cuts.  Alternatively, if you would send a comment directly to the governor you can do so by the following;
Phone: 360-902-4111
Fax: 360-753-4110


Whether or not you are on Medicaid, you could lose access to the medicines you need if Medicaid cuts its payments to pharmacies as planned.


The cuts force pharmacists to decide if they can continue to help Medicaid patients when they will lose money on the prescriptions they provide for Medicaid patients.


è Pharmacies that serve a large number of Medicaid patients could be forced to close, which would affect the entire community, including those who do not depend on Medicaid.


è Pharmacies that stay open could be forced to reduce staff, hours, salaries, benefits and deliveries to compensate for the loss of revenue from the Medicaid cutbacks. Cutbacks mean longer lines and slower service for everyone.


è Patients who don’t take their prescriptions could end up in the emergency room or back at the doctor’s office, increasing healthcare costs for everyone and adding strain to our overburdened hospitals and clinics.  

Sign the petition at the pharmacy counter and add your voice to the thousands who have asked Governor Gregoire and state lawmakers to…


Stop the Medicaid cuts!

Stop the Medicaid Cuts!




è Save access to prescription drugs for all patients, including those on Medicaid.


è Save pharmacy services and jobs, which could limit access and increase wait times if Medicaid cuts payments.

è Save your taxpayer dollars as healthcare costs will increase when Medicaid patients go the hospital or doctor because they can’t get their medicine.

Pharmacies should not be forced to stop helping Medicaid patients.


Tell the Governor and State Legislature to…

Stop the cuts in Medicaid payments to pharmacies!

Frequently Asked Questions

About Medicaid Pharmacy Reimbursement Rate Cuts


Washington has a huge budget deficit. What’s wrong with cutting the amount Medicaid will reimburse pharmacies for prescription drugs?

The huge reduction in the amount pharmacies are reimbursed by Medicaid for prescription drugs will take effect on April 1. Some drugs will cost the pharmacist more to buy from the manufacturer than Medicaid will reimburse, which means pharmacists could be forced to lose money on those drugs or stop filling prescriptions under Medicaid. If Medicaid patients can’t take the medicines they need to stay healthy, their health will deteriorate and they’ll end up in the emergency room or at the doctor’s office, both of which cost more than prescription drugs.


Why should patients who are not on Medicaid care about the budget cuts?

Pharmacies that serve a large number of Medicaid patients may have to close if they’re forced to lose money on Medicaid prescriptions. Entire communities depend on their local pharmacies, including patients who are not on Medicaid. Pharmacies that continue to serve Medicaid patients will have to find other ways to deal with the cuts in reimbursements. That could mean reduced staffing and longer lines for pharmacy customers, fewer business hours or cutbacks in delivery services.


Taxpayers should also be concerned about increased spending by Medicaid for patients who must obtain treatment at an emergency room or physician’s office because they could not find a pharmacy to fill their prescriptions. Reducing access to prescription drugs would increase overall costs to the healthcare system by increasing emergency room visits, hospitalizations, physician office visits, treatment at community clinics and nursing home admissions. Emergency rooms and community clinics are already stretched to the limit by expanding patient populations and shrinking revenues.


What’s so difficult about finding another pharmacy?

The cuts in Medicaid reimbursement rates could force pharmacies to stop serving Medicaid patients or even force them out of business. Patients could be forced to find another pharmacy to access their medicines, which could be difficult for patients in rural areas, where the next closest pharmacy might be 50 miles away, or those in certain communities, where the closest pharmacist might not speak the patient’s language. These hardships would affect all patients that depend on a given pharmacy, not just those on Medicaid. Pharmacies that serve a large number of Medicaid patients may be the first to stop filling Medicaid prescriptions because they can’t absorb the financial losses. That would force an even greater number of Medicaid patients into a smaller number of pharmacies, creating a domino effect of pharmacies that could be forced to stop taking Medicaid patients.

Myths and Facts

About Cutting Medicaid Reimbursement Rates for Prescription Medicines


Myth               Reducing Medicaid payments to pharmacists for prescriptions won’t affect the health of Medicaid patients or anyone else.

Fact                     Beginning April 1, the amount pharmacists are reimbursed for prescriptions filled under Medicaid will be significantly reduced. The cuts apply to the cost of the medication that the pharmacist is reimbursed. In many cases, the pharmacy will receive less from Medicaid than it costs the pharmacy to buy the drug from the manufacturer. A pharmacy can’t stay in business if it loses money filling prescriptions, so some pharmacies could be forced to stop serving Medicaid patients. Pharmacies with a large number of Medicaid patients may be forced out of business entirely.


If a pharmacy is forced to close or to stop accepting Medicaid, patients who depend on that pharmacy must locate a pharmacy that can afford to lose money on Medicaid prescriptions. If those patients can’t find a pharmacy willing to accept Medicaid, they may lose access to their medicines, which could cause their health to deteriorate and force them to seek treatment from a doctor or in the emergency room.

Myth               These cuts will save taxpayers money and help Washington reconcile its huge budget shortfall.

Fact                     Cutting the reimbursement rate for prescription drugs would likely cost taxpayers more money and increase the huge state budget deficit which could affect education and transportation. If patients lose access to prescription drugs, they will become sicker, and they will need more expensive forms of medical treatment at a doctor’s office or in an emergency room. Hospital emergency rooms and community clinics are not only more expensive than prescription drugs, they are already stretched to the limit by expanding patient populations and declining revenues.

Myth               There are plenty of pharmacies in Washington. It’s not difficult to find another pharmacy if one closes.

Fact                     Some pharmacies will be forced to stop accepting Medicaid and it will force more Medicaid patients into a smaller pool of pharmacies, increasing wait times and producing even greater losses in those pharmacies. When a pharmacy loses money on the prescriptions they provide, serving more Medicaid patients will result in the loss of more money.  This makes it extremely difficult for pharmacies to continue serving Medicaid patients without going out of business. Finding another pharmacy may be more difficult for some patients and those who live in rural areas might be forced to travel great distances to the next closest pharmacy. People in ethnic communities could have a tough time finding another pharmacy where their language is spoken.

Myth               Reducing Medicaid payments for prescription drugs won’t affect those who don’t depend on Medicaid for their healthcare.

Fact                     When a pharmacy closes because it cannot absorb the losses from the cuts in Medicaid reimbursement, the entire community will be forced to find another pharmacy. Pharmacies that stay open may have to cut staff, business hours and deliveries to compensate for the reduced payments from Medicaid. This means longer lines, slower service and more inconvenience for everyone, not just those on Medicaid. Taxpayers will also assume the burden of higher healthcare costs under Medicaid as more patients seek more expensive forms of treatment because they are unable to take their medicines. Productivity will decline as more people stay sick for longer periods of time.