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ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), California Pharmacists Association, and the California Retail Association last week called on federal regulators to carefully examine a planned 10 percent “across-the-board” cut to Medi-Cal reimbursements.
In a joint letter to Kerry Weems, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the groups highlighted potential consequences of the 10 percent reduction, which was enacted last month.
“We urge that CMS ensure that DHCS and the Medi-Cal program have performed their statutorily required due diligence under the Medicaid statute in evaluating the impact of each component provider reduction on beneficiary access,” the groups stated. “If they have not done so, we urge that the SPA be rejected.
The groups cited studies that have found reduced access to prescriptions can result in increased emergency room visits and prolonged hospital stays, which are more costly forms of healthcare. “Maintaining pharmacy access is important not only to Medi-Cal beneficiaries’ health and safety, but also to the Medicaid program’s overall ability to constrain costs at the ‘macro’ level,” they said.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the California Pharmacists Association, and the California Retail Association represent approximately 5,000 pharmacies operating in California, and which fill over 22 million prescriptions for Medi-Cal patients every year.