Walgreens in WA no new mediciad patients

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-07-2009
Walgreens in WA no new mediciad patients
16
Wed, 03-17-2010 - 10:06pm

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2011367936_walgreens18m.html



Walgreens: no new Medicaid patients as of April 16

Walgreens will stop taking new Medicaid patients in Washington state as of April 16, saying it loses money filling their prescriptions.


By Janet I. Tu


Seattle Times staff reporter






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Effective April 16, Walgreens drugstores across the state won't take any new Medicaid patients, saying that filling their prescriptions is a money-losing proposition — the latest development in an ongoing dispute over Medicaid reimbursement.


The company, which operates 121 stores in the state, will continue filling Medicaid prescriptions for current patients.


In a news release, Walgreens said its decision to not take new Medicaid patients stemmed from a "continued reduction in reimbursement" under the state's Medicaid program, which reimburses it at less than the break-even point for 95 percent of brand-name medications dispensed to Medicaid patents.


Walgreens follows Bartell Drugs, which stopped taking new Medicaid patients last month at all 57 of its stores in Washington, though it still fills Medicaid prescriptions for existing customers at all but 15 of those stores.


Doug Porter, the state's director of Medicaid, said Medicaid recipients should be able to readily find another pharmacy because "we have many more pharmacy providers in our network than we need" for the state's 1 million Medicaid clients.


He said those who can't can contact the state's Medical Assistance Customer Service Center at 1-800-562-3022 for help in locating one.


Along with Walgreens and Bartell, the Ritzville Drug Company in Adams County announced in November that it would stop participating in Medicaid.


Fred Meyer and Safeway said their pharmacies would continue to serve existing Medicaid patients and to take new ones, though both expressed concern that the reimbursement rate is too low for pharmacies to make a profit.


The amount private insurers and Medicaid pay pharmacies for prescriptions isn't the actual cost of those drugs but rather is based on what's called the drug's estimated average wholesale price. But that figure is more like the sticker price on a car than its actual wholesale cost.


Washington was reimbursing pharmacies 86 percent of a drug's average wholesale price until July, when it began paying them just 84 percent. Pharmacies weren't happy about that.


Then in September came another blow. The average wholesale price is calculated by a private company, which was accused in a Massachusetts lawsuit of fraudulently inflating its figures. The company did not admit wrongdoing but agreed in a court settlement to ratchet its figures down by about 4 percent.


That agreement took effect in September — and prompted a lawsuit by a group of pharmacies and trade associations that said Washington state didn't follow federal law in setting its reimbursement rate, and that that rate is too low. The lawsuit is pending.


"Washington state Medicaid is now reimbursing pharmacies less than their cost of participation," said Jeff Rochon, CEO of the Washington State Pharmacy Association.


Pharmacies that continue to fill Medicaid prescriptions at the current state reimbursement rate are "at risk of putting themselves out of business altogether," he said.


Information from Seattle Times archives was used in this report.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-10-2010
Wed, 03-17-2010 - 10:32pm
If the Walgreen customers losing coverage in WA check, I think they will find that Walmart (and Target which competes and will match Walmart) have very low price generics that are probably even lower in cost if they pay directly than if they use Medicaid. In my state, over 100 different meds at Walmart cost $4/30-day supply and $10/90-day supply. This doesn't mean that all generic meds are on the list, but the soon-to-be-former Walgreens customers should see if this will help them.

~OPAL~

~OPAL~   onoz_omg2.gif OMG ONOZ image by KILLER_BOB11694

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-17-2010
Wed, 03-17-2010 - 10:42pm

Do you realize that Walmart pharmacies don't have to turn a profit? In fact, they sell many prescriptions well below cost, just to get customers into the store. They also LOVE to put any and all competitors out of business.

Good for Walgreens. More pharmacies should follow suit. Walmart is a cancer as far as retail stores go.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2010
Wed, 03-17-2010 - 10:55pm
another place is costco. From what I understand you don't have to be a member to use the pharmacy, and the cost is extremely low for meds there, too.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-07-2009
Wed, 03-17-2010 - 10:59pm
seems walgreens knows something we don't something bad is coming down
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-10-2010
Wed, 03-17-2010 - 11:28pm
If the problem is that Walgreens needs to drop or not take new Medicaid patients, the solution would be for those patients to find some pharmacy that will take them. Walgreens will still have their regular, non-Medicaid patients. Walmart and Target will have those Medicaid patients who might as well just pay $4 than use Medicaid. It will all work out. And, I agree with you, good for Walgreens. They must do what is best for their business. I also agree that Walmart is a "cancer" as far as retail stores go.

~OPAL~

~OPAL~   onoz_omg2.gif OMG ONOZ image by KILLER_BOB11694

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-07-2009
Thu, 03-18-2010 - 12:00am
i never said walmart is a cancer I love them, best mangement to get the cheapist goods to you
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-10-2010
Thu, 03-18-2010 - 12:23am

< i never said walmart is a cancer I love them, best mangement to get the cheapist goods to you>

Did someone say you said Walmart is a cancer?

~OPAL~

~OPAL~   onoz_omg2.gif OMG ONOZ image by KILLER_BOB11694

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-17-2010
Thu, 03-18-2010 - 12:48am

I said it. Many moons ago I worked as a pharmacist for K-mart. It was a horrible job...but it payed well.

Anyhoo....I would talk to the Walmart pharmacist all the time. I was mad at him because he was selling his Zantac (back when it was Rx) for $15 under his cost! He laughed and told me that he was TOLD that he was not to turn a profit. His goal for the next two years was to undercut his Rx prices to put an independent pharmacy in town (Kerr Drug) out of business.

He succeeded.

I hate Walmart. I have never shopped there since.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2010
Thu, 03-18-2010 - 2:42pm

(I hate Walmart. I have never shopped there since.)


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-17-2010
Thu, 03-18-2010 - 8:16pm

((it sickens me that I'm working my butt off to pay taxes for these people to buy pizza and junk food. ))

And people wonder why the "poor" are obese. Gee...I wonder if that Walmart sells fruits and vegetables?

Isn't it funny how the government will mandate how much a doctor can charge for a service...but won't mandate what these people put in their mouths...and allows them to get fat, then become diabetic, get bad joints, etc. Then WE taxpayers have to foot their medical bills AND their junk food!

I have seen on TV people lined up at the local food bank to get food. Funny, there wasn't a skinny one in the mix. All of them were obese! None of those folks have ever starved a day in their lives.

I wonder why all the poor people in other countries are skinny and all (most) of the poor people in America are fat.

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