ALBANY, NY (WENY) – Wednesday outside the New York State Capital, advocates and some lawmakers gathered to protest against a policy change to the Medicaid Pharmacy Program.
On Sep. 1 of this year, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) changed their policy where Medicaid consumers enrolled in Mainstream Managed Care can non longer receive their oral medications through a physician dispensary. According to the NYSDOH website, Medicaid consumers will receive their prescription medications through the Medicaid Fee-For-Service (FFS) Pharmacy Program.
The FFS program allows New York State to directly pay pharmacies for the drugs and supplies of Medicaid consumers.
NYSDOH stated on their information page that this policy change will simplify the process for Medicaid consumers to get the supplies they need. But advocates and some state lawmakers said it’s the opposite.
“We can’t find efficiencies on the back of patients,” said Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy.
Nancy Egerton, Pharmacy Director for New York Oncology Hematology, said patients undergoing cancer treatments through oral medications need a physician to walk them through the handling process because many of them are considered toxic and hazardous drugs.
When a clinical physician provides Medicaid patients with their prescriptions, Egerton said they walk them through steps like wearing gloves to take the medication and keeping it away from pets and children. She added that this education piece is important for patients in their process.
“It’s critical and I mean if it’s not done correctly, really bad things can happen,” she said.