Community Health Groups Launch New Coalition Demanding Repeal Of The Medicaid Drug Carve-Out

Community health groups across the state joined forces today to launch a new coalition, Save New York’s Safety Net: 340B Saves Lives from Harlem to the Hudson.

The launch is to urge Albany to reverse the Medicaid drug carve-out and resulting changes to the 340B drug discount program. The Medicaid drug carve-out will decimate essential services for the poorest New Yorkers.

The state’s plan to “carve-out” Medicaid prescription drugs will devastate 340B drug discount program providers. The 340B program allows safety net providers to purchase deeply discounted drugs and they use the savings to provide essential services from housing aid to food assistance for low-income New Yorkers.

Albany’s plan is scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2021, and will cause widespread and disastrous consequences statewide.

It will divert funding from essential services to state coffers – funding that the poorest New Yorkers need and rely on.

To say the program changes will ravage communities across the state is an understatement. It will divert funding from essential services to state coffers – funding that the poorest New Yorkers need and rely on.

“The 340B carve-out would have a devastating effect on the many services Housing Works provides for people living with HIV, homeless individuals and folks struggling with substance use and would only further exacerbate existing racial and gender healthcare disparities,” said Mathew Bernardo, President, Housing Works.

“The proposed changes to the 340b benefit would limit client access to lifesaving services and force Housing Works to close sites and eliminate key outreach and retention programs.”

“If the pharmacy carve-out goes forward on April 1, 2021, Damian Family Care Centers in the Hudson Valley and New York metro area will no longer be able to provide free medications to uninsured and underinsured individuals,” said Peter Grisafi, President and CEO of Damian Family Care Centers.


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“This means that at least 1,000 of our patients will no longer be able to afford medications for hepatitis C, HIV, substance use disorders, mental health disorders, and a variety of other ailments. This will tear a huge hole in the safety net for the most vulnerable and needy New Yorkers,”

“This means that at least 1,000 of our patients will no longer be able to afford medications for hepatitis C, HIV, substance use disorders, mental health disorders, and a variety of other ailments. This will tear a huge hole in the safety net for the most vulnerable and needy New Yorkers,” said Peter Grisafi.

“The state’s Medicaid pharmacy benefit ‘carve-out’ plan will be a debilitating blow to Callen-Lorde’s ability to provide life-saving, clinically, and culturally-appropriate, financially accessible care to our 18,000 LGBTQ, homeless and low-income patients,” Wendy Stark, Executive Director of Callen-Lorde.

Stark continued, “Without revenue from 340B, caring for these patients simply will not be sustainable.”

Coalition members include

  • Trillium
  • RWC-340B
  • iHealth
  • Housing Works
  • Harlem United
  • GMHC
  • Evergreen Health Services
  • Damian Family Care Centers
  • CHCANYS
  • Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
  • Alliance for Positive Change
  • Albany Damien Center
  • AIDS Healthcare Foundation

This comes on the heels of widespread opposition to the changes, and widespread agreement on the horrendous effects that will result if the changes are not reversed.

So far

  • Six hospital groups representing facilities across the state have written to the Department of Health saying, “If allowed to stand, this massive policy and operational shift will jeopardize the solvency of critical healthcare services and programs for vulnerable and low-income populations…”
  • Over 100 community-based healthcare and support groups have written to the Department of Health saying, “This new policy will provide little to no benefit to the state and will devastate patients and the safety net providers they rely on for care.”
  • A report by Menges Group found that the results of the change will have drastic effects on communities and will actually cost the state over a $1 billion over the next 5 years.

Save New York’s Safety Net: 340B Saves Lives is a statewide coalition of community health clinics and community-based organizations and committed to serving vulnerable New Yorkers across the state, ending the epidemic, and saving the 340B drug discount program.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.savenysafetynet.com.

Photo credit: Save New York’s Safety Net.

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