On Wednesday, June 27, 6 p.m. at the Galvez Building in downtown Baton Rouge, the Department of Health and Hospitals will have a public hearing on the pharmacy benefit offered by the new Medicaid managed-care plans. These hearings started on June 18 and are oriented towards pharmacists and cost issues. That’s a shame, because the interests of patient safety and insuring that chronically ill individuals get the drugs their doctors prescribe should be the primary discussion.
If you read the DHH white paper on the plans, at the agency’s website, they openly admit trying to significantly reduce access to name-brand drugs for those suffering from mental illness , AIDS, blood diseases and other chronic disorders. Yet the greatest savings in health care occur when we keep people living independently at home on the medicines their doctors prescribe to effectively treat their illnesses.
As director of the Louisiana Health Access Network, I hope patient advocates will show up at this hearing and encourage DHH to include the public and lawmakers in these critical discussions. There is no substitution for the expert care of a doctor and maximizing patient safety.
Cheron Brylski, director
Louisiana Health Access Network