AUSTIN, Texas, April 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Pharmacy Choice and Access Now (PCAN), a coalition of pharmacists and local businesses, today testified before the Texas House of Representatives Public Health Committee in support of HB 3678, introduced by Rep. Brown, a bill which provides sustainable, long-term cost-saving alternatives to Medicaid pharmacy cuts and changes that have been proposed in this year's budget. Testimony by PCAN spokesperson and independent pharmacy owner Tammy Gray and economist Dr. Ray Perryman was provided at the hearing. Both expressed concerns that proposed cuts and changes to Medicaid pharmacy services would drastically affect patient access to pharmacy services.
With 27 years of pharmacy experience, Gray explained that proposed budget cuts, including the "carve in" of pharmacy benefits under the managed care model, as well as reduced dispensing fees will hurt patients because under the new proposal, millions of Texans would have to go to a designated pharmacy, or use a faceless mail-in service, rather than a local pharmacist to get their prescriptions filled. With one in eight Texans relying on Medicaid for health insurance or long-term care service, proposed cuts will dramatically and negatively impact patients' continuity of care, especially for disabled patients or patients with chronic conditions.
"While increasing costs to the health care system is a real concern, moving Medicaid pharmacy benefits into managed care and cutting dispensing fees will ultimately hurt patients and taxpayers," Ms. Gray testified. "If passed, Medicaid patients may not be able get the medications they need from their trusted local pharmacists. Many of these pharmacies, like mine, have been family run for generations and are a cornerstone of local communities. By limiting access, independent pharmacies will be forced to close their doors and ultimately cost jobs."
Dr. Ray Perryman, president of the Perryman Group, and author of the study, The Economic Impact of Changing the Texas Medicaid Pharmacy Benefit Structure, also testified at the committee hearing.
"Pharmacies represent a significant part of Texas's economy and employ upwards of 100,000 Texans. Extreme cuts to Medicaid reimbursement rates and a restrictive managed network will have spill over effects into the broader community," said Dr. Perryman. The worst case scenario would subject Texas to $4.7 billion in reduced economic activity and over 64,000 permanent jobs lost. At a time when so many local communities are struggling to get back on their feet, the government shouldn't be creating hurdles for Texas businesses."
For more information on Dr. Perryman's study or the testimonies given, visit www.rxchoiceandaccess.com.
Pharmacy Choice and Access Now (PCAN) is a coalition of consumers, local business and pharmacists across the nation committed to preserving quality and affordable health care and pharmacy services for patients. For more information on Pharmacy Choice and Access Now visit www.rxchoiceandaccess.com.