Governor Signs Bill to Improve Patient Access and Ease Burden on Providers

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo signed the Standardized Prior Authorization bill (A.10248B/S.7384A) for Medicaid that will enhance patient access, relieve overburdened health care providers, and allow providers more time to treat patients!

The Governor is commended for his leadership in recognizing and fixing a significant problem in pharmacy access for Medicaid recipients.

However, this would not have happened without the unrelenting work of patients, patient advocacy groups, medical providers and pharmacists.  Together, they worked with legislative members to craft a simple solution to a vexing problem in the Medicaid managed care program.

Effective immediately, the new law requires the development of a standardized prior authorization form to be used by all Medicaid managed care providers when submitting utilization review requests to health plans.  The new form will be developed by the Department of Health and will be available in paper or electronic form.  The new law is designed to ease the burden experienced by providers and patients in navigating through the prior authorization processes of 21 different Medicaid managed care plans.  It will streamline the process and result in more time spent on actual patient care.

Patients, advocates, medical providers and pharmacists should express their appreciation and thanks to Governor Cuomo, and a job well-done to the Assembly and Senate sponsors, former Assemblyman Peter Rivera (now the New York State Labor Commissioner) and Senator Kemp Hannon.  Additionally, Assemblyman Gottfried deserves strong praise for his long-time support of patient access to prescription drugs in the Medicaid program.  Senate and Assembly leaders Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver should be lauded for championing this legislation during the waning days of the 2012 legislative session.  With the support of this group and their legislative colleagues, this barrier to prescription drug access has been torn down.

Collectively, we look forward to our future work in addressing patient access to Medicaid prescription drugs as prescribed by health care providers, with the Executive and our legislative champions.

-Jaime Venditti, 10/5/12