MEDICAID Rx REIMBURSEMENT CUTS ARE PAINFUL FOR PHARMACISTS

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0,0

Congressional budget legislation slashingMedicaid reimbursement to pharmaciesis drawing dire predictions fromhealth care leaders, who warn that manycommunity pharmacies will be forced toabandon the program altogether. Accordingto officials at the AmericanPharmacists Association (APhA), the congressionallyapproved budget reductions"will so adversely affect reimbursementrates that pharmacies will be faced witha very stark decision—turn away Medicaidpatients or remain in business."

Chain drugstore industry leaders calledthe reimbursement cuts "a serious misstepin Medicaid reform."

Officials at the National CommunityPharmacists Association (NCPA) warnedthat the legislation "would?end up costingbillions of dollars unless the states actto fix this mess."

The budget axe would fall hardest onlow-cost generic drugs, for which federalfunding would be reduced by $3.6 billionover the next 5 years.

"The language of the bill makes itsound like pharmacists would be gettinga good deal by dispensing generics,when in fact the new reimbursementwould cover only about half of our costfor generic drugs,"said Bruce Roberts,NCPA executive vice president.

APhA officials cautioned that the newpayment formula imposed by the legislation"could actually discourage the dispensingof generic drugs, a significantsource of Medicaid savings."