Patients with mental illness are being denied medication, forced to try cheaper drugs that have already been proven not to work for the patient, or not getting them in time because of delays in approval. These were some of the complaints of the state’s new Medicaid managed-care system, reports Deborah Yetter of The Courier-Journal.
“If this is how it’s going to be, it is scary,” Dr. Scott Haas, chief medical officer of the Bluegrass Mental Health/Mental Retardation Board, told the state Senate Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday. “It is dangerous, and it ultimately is going to cost us a lot of lives.”
The testimony is the latest that highlights the weaknesses of managed care, which the state changed to on Nov. 1 to for 560,000 Medicaid recipients living outside the Louisville area. Executives of the three companies hired to provide the care — CoventryCares of Kentucky, Kentucky Spirit Health Plan and WellCare of Kentucky — last week pledged to do better.
The majority of yesterday’s testimony focused on the system’s problems in dealing with mental illness, but Deb McGrath, executive director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana, said she’s been inundated with “complaints about delays or rejections in medications patients need to control seizures,” Yetter reports. “Something has to be done,” McGrath said. “It’s just a vicious cycle.” (Read more)