ALEXANDRIA, Va. – On June 4, the Mississippi Division of Medicaid announced it was reversing proposed Medicaid reimbursements cuts for health care providers. Pharmacies would have been hit under the plan as their reimbursements would have been cut by 15 percent.
The reversal follows on the heels of an intense lobbying effort by the Mississippi Independent Pharmacies Association (MIPA). MIPA and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) filed a lawsuit, along with the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA). Further support was provided by NCPA in an April letter to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging the agency to reject the proposed state plan amendment. In response, NACDS president and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, and Bruce T. Roberts, RPh, NCPA executive vice president and CEO, issued the following statement:
“The Mississippi Division of Medicaid wisely backed off draconian cuts to pharmacy reimbursements that would greatly compromise the ability of pharmacies to continue serving Medicaid patients. With the ongoing struggles to emerge from a deep economic recession that has increased the Medicaid rolls across the country, any policy that undermines the health care needs of these economically disadvantaged Americans is badly timed and will ultimately cost more money in the long run. If Medicaid patients can’t get their prescription drugs from pharmacies, their health can be compromised further and they will often seek the more expensive emergency rooms and doctor’s offices as a remedy.
“The Mississippi Independent Pharmacies Association should be commended for its yeoman like work in making this happen. Its arguments were compelling, and at the end, carried the day. While MIPA was representing the interests of community pharmacies, it is patients who were the driving force behind their concerns. However, the situation warrants close monitoring as future proposals are developed.”