BUFFALO, N.Y. — Evergreen Health and a Harlem-based health provider have filed a lawsuit that would prevent the New York State Department of from implementing carve-outs to its Medicaid pharmacy benefit.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the patients who depend upon 340b for needed health care services.
Beginning April 1, Medicaid users will be transitioned to a new pharmacy plan. Those changes would mean providers like Evergreen Health of Buffalo would not be able to purchase drugs to fill Medicaid prescriptions at a reduced rate and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions a year.
“The ‘carve-out’ of the 340B program in NY will have devastating consequences to underserved communities,” said Mike Lee, chief operating officer, Evergreen in a statement. “We’re talking about communities of color, LGBTQ people, people living with HIV, refugees, and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who will be disproportionally impacted by this ‘carve-out.’ Does that sound like equity? We’ve implored Albany to hear us and they haven’t. Now we turn to the courts to put an end to the irresponsible chaos the Health Department has created."
Back in November, WNY health organizations, including Evergreen Health, launched a campaign called “Leave340B.” The campaign's goal is to bring the patience voice into the conversation about the proposed policy for Medicaid users.
Many organizations rely on 340b funding to survive, including the Jericho Road Community Health Center.
“Our organization depends on 340b funding – literally – to survive,” said Dr. Myron Glick, founder and CEO, Jericho Road Community Health Center said in a statement last fall. “Programs that our patients, many of whom are refugees and asylum seekers, have come to rely on will be cut and dramatically reduced should the carve-out go through. This is a sad state of affairs and hopefully now that patient and provider voices are heard, Gov. Hochul will do the right thing and retract the proposed 340B carve-out.”
Health officials say the "carve-out" would take funding away from many programs that provide emergency housing, dental services, nutrition, care coordination and mental and behavioral health services.
The lawsuit also says it will disproportionately impact refugees people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. Nearly eight million people are enrolled in the Medicaid program.