Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Is LA Medicaid Putting Fat Cats' Profits over Patient Health?

No, I don't mean the so-called "fat cat" doctors that people who aren't doctors think get rich off Medicaid payments.  I mean pharmaceutical companies.

I learned today that Medicaid patients need prior authorization for generic ADHD medications.  Name-brand (i.e., more expensive than generic) ADHD medications are on the current Louisiana Medicaid Preferred Drug List, but generic versions of those same medications are not.  This means that LA Medicaid will pay, no questions asked, for Adderall XR, Focalin, Focalin XR, and Concerta; but physicians must submit Prior Authorization forms for the less expensive generic forms of these medications.

That means that providers who prescribe these drugs to Medicaid patients must fill out additional paperwork, and may even have to call the state medicaid office, to justify why the state should pay for the CHEAPER  generic version.    

As if that isn't problematic enough, there is a shortage of stimulant medications used to treat ADHD, and many pharmacies only have generic versions.  They couldn't get the name-brand versions of the drugs if they wanted to.

I find this policy interesting, considering Governor Jindal's push to save healthcare dollars by privatizing Medicaid and his constant hootin' and hollerin' about how much Louisiana pays to fund Medicaid. 

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