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WTSP: Managed care for Medicaid raises concerns in Florida

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tallahassee, Florida – Florida is moving ahead with plans to place the state’s 3 million Medicaid recipients into managed care programs and that’s raising concerns among pharmacies in Florida.

A group called Pharmacy Choice and Access Now, or PCAN, is concerned the new managed-care system will prevent Medicaid patients from having their prescriptions filled at the pharmacy of their choice.

Pharmacy owners are calling on the state not to require mandatory mail ordering for prescriptions. Plus, they want Medicaid patients to have the option to fill 90-day prescriptions with their own neighborhood pharmacy.

Bill Mincy, a member of Pharmacy Choice and Access Now, says mandatory prescription mail ordering would hurt patients, as well as local pharmacy businesses.

“We in the local pharmacies across Florida will lose business to out-of-state mail order pharmacies, creating layoffs and possibly even pharmacy closures.”

Michael Jackson of the Florida Pharmacy Association wants the state to make timely payments to providers and make sure patients can keep their business with the pharmacists they trust.

“We think it makes very good sense for Medicaid patients and state employees to maintain the choice of having their prescriptions filled by their personal pharmacist. Policies or a lack of policies or guidelines that create mandatory mail order programs make no sense for patients or for the many Florida pharmacies that they rely on for their care.”

But one of the main lawmakers to shape the managed-care Medicaid plan says patients do not have to worry about any mail-order mandates.

Rep. Robert Schenck says the new law reforming Medicaid prohibits the exclusive use of mail-order pharmacies for patients.

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