Op-ed | Avoiding medical catastrophe for the state’s most vulnerable

Dozens of Prescription Pill Bottles
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As you read this, New York is days away from what could be a medical catastrophe for many of the state’s vulnerable residents.

On April 1, Community Health Safety Net Providers from Buffalo to Brooklyn will be forced to lay people off, shut down programs, and close buildings leaving thousands without the medical care they need and deserve. Many of those who will be left out in the cold are those most in need.

Only lawmakers in Albany can fix this.

In our opinion, it’s not a tough choice. Members of the State Senate and the State Assembly can choose the well-being of New Yorkers or they can choose a flawed proposal that experts agree is doomed to fail.

Let’s take a step back and explain what’s going on.

There is a federal initiative that is called the 340B program. It allows Community Health Safety Net Providers to buy prescription drugs at a discount. Those facilities are then reimbursed for those drugs by the insurer at full market rate.

The savings are used in communities across the state for underfunded programs that help children, families, homeless, people living with HIV, just to name a few.

Well, the state’s Medicaid Director now wants to handle the disbursement of prescription drugs and keep that money for themselves. Why does the state’s Medicaid office want to hurt so many of its residents who rely on these programs?

It says it will save money. Experts don’t agree.

The experts say the advertised savings just don’t add up. So not only will the new Medicaid plan not save money, but it will leave thousands who need help with no place to go.

Governor and members of the state legislature: You have just days to make a decision that truly is life or death for some New Yorkers. The fate of these life-saving programs is in your hands.

We ask you to make the right, compassionate, economically proven decision to repeal the Medicaid pharmacy change so the 340B program can continue to support those in need.

Sharen I. Duke is the executive director/CEO of Alliance for Positive Change in New York City.