Walgreens, Delaware looking for right prescription on reimbursements

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Just before it was set to stop participating in the state’s Medicaid program, Walgreens announced it would restart negotiations with Delaware officials over reimbursement rates for prescriptions.

Prescription pill bottleIn June, Deerfield-Ill.-based Walgreens announced it would stop filling Medicaid prescriptions in all of its 66 Happy Harry’s pharmacies July 6, citing the state’s cuts in prescription reimbursements made to fill a $800 million budget shortfall.

Rita Landgraf, secretary for the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, announced July 3 that Walgreens has extended its participation to Aug. 5, as the two sides continue to reach an agreement on reimbursement rates.

“I am pleased that both sides are at the table to look for a permanent solution that benefits everyone, including Delaware’s taxpayers and Medicaid enrollees,” Landgraf said in a statement.

Kermit Crawford, Walgreens senior vice president of pharmacy, added that the extension gives both sides “needed time to work out an agreement without impacting pharmacy care to Medicaid recipients.”

“We’re hopeful a compromise will be reached,” Crawford said.

In a previous statement, Walgreens said it is cautioning Medicaid patients that half of Delaware’s Medicaid prescriptions are filled by Happy Harry’s and losing money on 84% of brand name prescriptions – the latest proposal by state officials would put it “in a difficult position.”

“As we fight for a minimally fair rate that preserves jobs and allows us to continue serving our Medicaid patients, the state is turning a blind eye to the disruption its rate cut will cause to those who are in most need of assistance,” said Crawford.

Walgreens said it has offered alternatives to save the state much more than the “harmful rate cut” they are proposing, and it has offered “as part of our good faith negotiations” to accept nearly two-thirds of the rate cut proposed by the state.

“It doesn’t make sense for the state to push out its best partner,” said Crawford.

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