PUTT in the Wichita Eagle: Pharmacies need level playing field

PUTT’s Letter in the Wichita Eagle Takes on Medicaid Managed Care in Kansas

As Gov. Sam Brownback hands the state’s Medicaid program over to a managed-care system, there is plenty of reason for concern among Medicaid recipients and independent pharmacists. Having signed contracts with three managed-care organizations this month, KanCare will move its 350,000 Medicaid recipients to managed care in January. It’s a move designed to cut costs that could potentially restrict patients’ access to care as well as send a shock wave through the state’s network of independent pharmacists.

While the administration maintains that health care providers will not form the basis of the new program’s projected savings, other states that recently have moved to managed care illustrate the danger of the new system. Since Texas transitioned to managed care in March, roughly 30 independent pharmacies have closed or been sold to retail chains. When Kentucky transitioned to a managed-care system in November, independent pharmacists experienced an 80 percent reduction in professional fees and draconian cuts to drug reimbursement.

Under the new system, Kansans who rely on local, rural pharmacies for their medications may be in danger of decreased access to care unless the administration ensures a level playing field for the state’s independent and chain pharmacies. That way, Kansas taxpayer dollars can support local business rather than Fortune 500 companies, and independent pharmacies can continue serving their loyal customers.  Read More…

DAVE MARLEY

President

Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency

Washington, D.C.

BRETT KAPPELMANN

Cooper Drug Store

Augusta

VAN G. COBLE

Medicap Pharmacy

Winfield