Pharmacists Complain About Managed Care

Set Text Size SmallSet Text Size MediumSet Text Size LargeSet Text Size X-Large
Updated: 12/30/2011 6:51 pm
Independent pharmacists say managed care of Medicaid is putting the squeeze on them and many of their patients. 
There are 560 independent, community pharmacies in Kentucky, many in small, rural communities.  Pharmacists tell ABC 36 News of slashed reimbursements for their dispensing fees and drug costs since the state switched to a managed care approach November 1.
“Drugs that I lost money on, that I could not buy for what I gave to the patients for, anywhere from 70 cents to 90 dollars,” said Mac Bray, owner of Capital Pharmacy in Frankfort. 
Several pharmacists told ABC 36 News about examples where patients were unable to get their medications in a timely manner.  “Some times these are really high risk patients,” said Bray.  “Cancer patients, mental health patients, diabetic patients, people on chronic pain medications.  Once you disturb their therapy ... it can take weeks to months to get them back on a stable position."
The state now uses three private companies to manage the health care of more than a half million poor Kentuckians.  Governor Steve Beshear, who is promising a savings of $375 million to the state’s general fund over the next three years, claims the new approach is working.  "I'm amazed that we haven't had some much bigger problems than the small ones that we've experienced."
But the problems aren’t “small ones” to the owner of three pharmacies in rural Grant County.  "You can't bludgeon pharmacies to death,” said pharmacist Jason Wallace.   “You can't put them out of business.  Independent, community pharmacy is a vital resource in the state of Kentucky."
Wallace is on the board of the Kentucky Independent Pharmacy Association.  He says layoffs, and even store closings, have already occurred at a few pharmacies.  He blames managed care for trying to balance Medicaid savings on their backs.  "We're the low hanging fruit,” Wallace claimed.  “We're the path of least resistance, so they can suck that money out of the pharmacy budget without actually managing care, which is what they were hired to do."
In other words, profits for the managed care companies over patient care or a fair profit margin for independent pharmacies, claim Wallace, Bray and other pharmacists.
"When an independent community pharmacy closes, game over,” said Wallace."

1 Comment(s)
Comments: Show | Hide

Here are the most recent story comments.View All

BlueBelle - 1/2/2012 2:37 PM
0 Votes
Absolutely right! This is corporatocracy in action. The politicians support the insurance companies (managed-care) and big pharma at the expense of the local independents. In the long run this type of behavior will come back to bite those who support it now.
Most Popular
KSP Makes Large Drug Bust In Laurel County
The Kentucky State Police issued arrest warrants for eighteen people for illegal drug activity.
Fayette County Principal: Reportedly Suspended For Drinking During School Trip
Henry Clay High School's Principal was recently suspended without pay because he reportedly drank a beer during a school trip. Video Video
U of L cheerleader found dead in apartment
A University of Louisville cheerleader has been found dead in an apartment near campus.
Deputies: Man Badly Beaten, Buried Alive In Rockcastle County
The Rockcastle County Sheriff's Office said a man brutally beat a coworker, then buried him alive.
2014 36 Blitz: Rockcastle Co. Rockets
The boys in Mount Vernon will look to replace quarterback Corey McPhetridge this season. Video Video
Inergize Digital This site is hosted and managed by Inergize Digital. supports children's privacy rights. All persons under the age of 13 MUST have parental permission to use this website and direct parental supervision is strongly recommended.