SEATTLE — While negotiations over pharmacy reimbursement rates continue, Walgreen Co. has delayed its plan to stop filling Medicaid prescriptions at more than half of its stores in Washington state.
“We’re encouraged by the state’s willingness to continue working with us to find a solution that will allow all of our stores to continue serving our Medicaid patients,” said Walgreens senior vice president of pharmacy Kermit Crawford.
“We recognize the budget challenges the administration and the legislature face, and we’re optimistic that our continued talks will result in a solution that will provide the savings the state is looking for, while allowing pharmacies to maintain service for those patients with the most need and the fewest options.”
Walgreens announced on January 13 that it would stop filling Medicaid prescriptions in 64 of its 121 pharmacies in Washington, due to continued reduction in reimbursement rates under the state’s Medicaid program. Citing constructive talks with the state, however, Walgreens said it would continue to fill Medicaid prescriptions in those 64 stores until at least March 15.
“I appreciate Walgreens’ decision to delay any withdrawal from Medicaid and the thoughtful ideas they’ve brought to us for reducing overall pharmacy costs,” said Susan Dreyfus, secretary of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. “I am committed to working constructively with them, the entire pharmacy community and the legislature on further strategies that will allow us to meet the needs of our Medicaid enrollees within a very difficult budget environment.”
Seattle-based Bartell Drugs also said in January that it would stop filling Medicaid prescriptions at 15 of its 57 pharmacies, beginning February 1. And the Washington State Pharmacy Association is pursuing a lawsuit against the state’s Medicaid program.