Legislators, advocates and doctors today urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to reinstate the physicians’ authority to prescribe antipsychotic medications and other drug classes for their patients, Gannett’s Haley Viccaro reports.
Sen. David Carlucci, who is the chair of the Mental Health Committee, along with assembly members are calling for the governor to restore a doctors’ decision of prescribing atypical antipsychotics and all drug classes in the Medicaid budget.
“We’ve got to make sure that people who are living with mental health issues get the care that they need,” Carlucci said. “Most important, in today’s technology that we have, with pharmaceutical drugs proliferating and evolving, we have to make sure that we link up the right drug with the right patient.”
In October 2011, Medicaid policy shifted and handed the authority to prescribe specific medications to health insurers rather than physicians. The change has resulted in the denial of medications and health complications for patients, opponents said.
In 2012, the authority of physicians to prescribe antipsychotic medicine for mental health patients was restored. In Cuomo’s budget proposal, he is considering a repeal on the regulations that allow physicians to prescribe antipsychotics and also for all drug classes in Medicaid.
“It is time we return to relying on health care providers, not insurance plans, to determine which medications are best for our Medicaid population,” said Assemblyman Karim Camara, D-Brooklyn, in a statement. “There have been countless examples of Medicaid consumers, including children, being denied medicines that they had been taking for years.”
The state Medicaid budget office said the repeal of antipsychotics would save about $9 million and repealing all drug classes in Medicaid would save almost $2 million for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts April 1.