Drug & LaConner Drug
Medicaid Cuts Could Limit Access to Prescription Drugs.
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
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 –
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
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.
The Governor NEEDS to hear
that these cuts could have vast negative impacts for ALL customers of ALL
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…”.
is some general information; click here for FAQ's and
click here for Myths and Facts
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
Whether or not you
are on Medicaid, you could lose access to the
medicines you need if Medicaid cuts its payments to pharmacies as
force pharmacists to decide if they can continue to help Medicaid patients
when they will lose money on the prescriptions they provide for Medicaid
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.
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
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!
access to prescription
patients, including those on Medicaid.
pharmacy services and
which could limit access and
increase wait times if Medicaid cuts payments.
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!
Medicaid Pharmacy Reimbursement Rate Cuts
Washington has a huge budget deficit. What’s
wrong with cutting the amount Medicaid will reimburse pharmacies for
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.
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?
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
Reducing Medicaid payments to pharmacists for prescriptions won’t
affect the health of Medicaid patients or anyone else.
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
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.
These cuts will save taxpayers money and help
Washington reconcile its huge budget shortfall.
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.
There are plenty of pharmacies in Washington. It’s not
difficult to find another pharmacy if one closes.
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.
Reducing Medicaid payments for prescription drugs won’t
affect those who don’t depend on Medicaid for their healthcare.
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.