CPhA Officials Criticize Davis’ Proposed Medi-Cal Pharmacy Reimbursement Reductions
Officials from the California Pharmacists Association yesterday said that many independent pharmacies would be forced to stop accepting Medi-Cal beneficiaries or close down altogether if Gov. Gray Davis' (D) proposed fiscal year 2002-2003 budget, which includes a $110 million reduction to pharmacy reimbursements, is enacted, the Sacramento Bee reports (Fletcher, Sacramento Bee, 8/1). Davis has proposed decreasing the fee pharmacists are paid to fill a Medi-Cal prescription from $3.95 to $3.55 to help cover the state's estimated $23.6 billion deficit. A report completed by the Department of Health Services found that dispensing each Medi-Cal prescription costs pharmacies $8 or more (California Healthline, 7/11). "The [proposed reductions] will have a devastating effect on pharmacies, especially community pharmacies," CPhA CEO Carlo Michelotti said. According to Michelotti, the reductions are not as threatening for larger chain pharmacies, which he said can "more easily absorb the cuts" by selling products other than drugs. He added that independent pharmacies are more likely to serve urban and rural areas with high numbers of Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Davis spokesperson Hilary McLean said that the governor is "making the best of a difficult budget situation," adding that if the budget were left to Republicans in the Assembly, the reductions would be "much more devastating." Assembly Republicans, however, said that they do not support the proposed Medi-Cal pharmacy reductions. "We would find a way to not put rural pharmacies out of business," Peter DeMarco, a spokesperson for Assembly Republican Leader Dave Cox (R-Sacramento), said (Sacramento Bee, 8/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.