MEDICAID FEES LAG FAR BEHIND DISPENSING COSTS, STUDY FINDS

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Although pharmacists in New Yorkare paid an average of about $4.50 tofill each Medicaid prescription, theactual cost of dispensing medication inthat state is now $10.96 per prescription,according to the results of a newstudy.

The research findings, released by theCoalition for Community PharmacyAction (CCPA), were based on a reviewof drug dispensing cost factors at 23,000community pharmacies nationwide bythe accounting firm Grant Thornton. Theresearchers found that dispensing costsranged from $8.50 per prescription inRhode Island to $13.08 in California.

In all cases, the average cost of dispensinga drug is more than the dispensingfee paid by state Medicaid programs.Adding to the problem is the factthat "many pharmacies serving Medicaidbeneficiaries have higher thanaverage costs of dispensing,"said theresearchers.

"As a result of low reimbursementrates, many pharmacies will have troublekeeping their doors open or will beforced to reduce the number of pharmacistsor pharmacy hours,"saidCharles Sewell, copresident of CCPA."Inadequate dispensing fees, compoundedby a cut in Medicaid prescriptiondrug reimbursement, threatenpatient access and the pharmacist'sability to continue to provide patientswith quality health care."

For a relatedarticle, go to page 75.