Pharmacy Choice and Access Now (PCAN) members attended the Agency for Health Care Administration’s (AHCA) public hearing on Medicaid managed care today in Coral Gables to ensure that Floridians’ access to quality and affordable health care options is preserved as the state moves to a managed care system. PCAN has already begun work in the State of Florida with the objective of ensuring Medicaid patients have access to care from local and community-based pharmacists, particularly since so many Floridians suffer from disabilities and have limited access to transportation.
“It’s imperative that pharmacies are represented at these meetings and share the stories of our patients who count on our care and assistance,” said Aiman Ayman, an independent pharmacy owner from Miami and member of the Pharmacy Choice and Access Now (PCAN) coalition in Florida. “Those on Medicaid, especially seniors and our disabled Floridians, need to have access to their nearby care facilities of choice. Without this, many of our most vulnerable citizens may be forced to travel great distances in order to obtain medications and supplies.”
PCAN is calling on AHCA to include the following provisions in its Medicaid managed care proposal to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS): Allowing Medicaid patients to have their prescriptions filled at the pharmacy of their choosing; ending mandatory mail ordering of prescriptions for Medicaid patients and state employees; allowing patients to maintain the option of filling 90 day prescriptions in-person with the help of a community-based pharmacist; ensuring timely provider reimbursement and maximizing Medicaid manager transparency to ensure that patients and taxpayers are protected under a Medicaid Managed Care structure.
PCAN coalition members are also concerned with state mandates that have required mail order maintenance medications for certain populations. In addition to threatening thousands of jobs, this system could have dangerous consequences. There is increasing alarm over mail-ordered prescriptions in warm climates, because many medications including pills, creams or even insulin can be damaged and lose potency while sitting in the mail box or on the porch in even moderate summer heat.
“Mail ordering of prescriptions is not always a feasible option for patient populations that require hands-on care,” said Eddie Dutton, executive director and co-founder of the South Florida Cancer Association. “We often hear how pharmacists help patients adhere to medication therapies, avoid health problems and avoid potentially deadly complications from dangerous combinations of drugs. It’s important that these patients continue to be served by their local pharmacist familiar with their health history.”