Medicaid physicians need new pads for prescriptions

first_imgPharmacists have asked lawmakers and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to delay implementation of the law. “Millions of Medicaid beneficiaries may not be able to obtain their medications after Oct. 1,” wrote an organization representative in in a recent letter to lawmakers. “This could lead to higher Medicaid costs for emergency room visits, hospitalizations and physician office visits if medication cannot be obtained in a timely manner.” Steve Hahn, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the agency, for now, has no plans to change the Oct. 1 start. In the interim, he said, agency officials are consulting with health care providers and preparing guidance on how to comply with the law. Several states already require tamper-proof prescription pads, Hahn noted. But health care providers in those states often had more than a year to prepare, Kelly said. New York, for example, allowed 18 months. In this instance, many doctors aren’t even aware of the law. WASHINGTON – Millions of Medicaid patients and their pharmacists could be in for a nasty surprise Oct. 1. A provision tucked within an emergency spending bill for Iraq requires that prescriptions for Medicaid patients be written on “tamper-resistant” pads. Problem is, most doctors don’t use such pads. The law is designed to make it harder for patients to obtain controlled drugs illegally and easier for the government to save money. But the quick startup date leaves little time to educate doctors and pharmacists. “Our members are absolutely flabbergasted that they’re going to be put on the hook for denying prescriptions if something is not on a tamper-proof pad,” said Paul Kelly, vice president of government affairs for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Medicaid is the federal-state partnership that provides health coverage to about 55 million poor Americans. President George W. Bush had recommended the requirement for tamper-proof prescription pads in his 2008 budget. The Congressional Budget Office projected that the requirement would save taxpayers $355 million over the coming decade, mainly through preventing fraudulent prescriptions. Some lawmakers say they are starting to hear concerns from pharmacists back home. Rep. Charles Wilson, D-Ohio, and Reps. Marion Berry and Mike Ross, both Democrats from Arkansas, circulated a letter to colleagues Wednesday that urged them to contact Medicaid officials.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more