MCDS could hurt patients
State health officials are jumping on the managed-care bandwagon as a way to save money in the Medicaid pharmacy program. In their view, health services will improve and cost less if we simply farm them out to private sector managed-care organizations (MCOs).
As a patient, I am skeptical. Other states are trying managed-care programs, and they are not producing good results. In fact, they are harming patients.
If Louisiana adopts a managed-care system for Medicaid pharmacy, the impact is likely to fall the hardest on people who are already having a tough time making ends meet, particularly the elderly and those in rural areas.
Before any such program takes effect, the state should at least set some minimal standards so the MCOs do not slash provider fees and so that patients are not forced to use mail-order programs or a pharmacy far from home.
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