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Pharmacists: Medicaid changes could shut them down

AP AP

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Community pharmacists said changes to Medicaid reimbursement rules don't address their complaints that the cuts could jeopardize their ability to remain open.

The state's health secretary, Bruce Greenstein, said last week that revisions made in response to pharmacies' complaints should quell the backlash. But The Advocate reports  the complaints hadn't disappeared Monday.

Louisiana Independent Pharmacies Association President Randal Johnson called the amended plan, set to begin Thursday, horrible. Johnson said what had been a 19 percent cut will now be about a 16.5 percent cut, which he said is too steep to absorb.

"We have got to continue to plead with the department to recognize the actual numbers" for purchase of prescription drugs, Johnson said.

Greenstein disputed the pharmacies' claim of the extent of the cut. He said his department will monitor claims payments to see if the impact is greater than anticipated.

"We don't see that in our data. We think it is overstated. We are looking at in the ballpark of a 3 percent," Greenstein said.

The community pharmacists, who are not affiliated with the big chain drug stores, strongly opposed new reimbursement rules that went into effect in early September that changed the basis on which they would be reimbursed for prescription drugs they purchase. Now, the group is opposing altered rules aimed at quieting the opposition.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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