BROWNSVILLE — The valley has a great deal of Medicaid patients and many of those patients rely on medications paid for by the government. The new managed care system that goes into effect March 1st worries some independent pharmacies like Autry Pharmacy.
The plan is expected to save the state 100-million dollars over the next two years, but that means these small pharmacies will be hit pretty hard according to pharmacist Robert Autry.
"An economist wrote a report that any pharmacy that is filling more than 35%, of the business, being Medicaid will probably close."
Autry says that his pharmacy serves just under 35-percent of Medicaid recipients, but they've still had to make adjustments. They too will be losing money after the state has now decided to reimburse each pharmacy less for filling Medicaid prescriptions.
"We've had to cut the salary of every employee we have, period. We had no choice but to cut the salary of every employee. We've even cut the hours of some employees."
While the businesses themselves are expected to take a hit, the customers too will feel the effects.
In another effort to make cut backs, Autry on Ruben Torres has also scaled back on their weekend hours."
On top of that, many of these independently owned pharmacies will no longer be able to afford to house some of these big name, expensive medications. The profit won't be coming in that allows them to keep these types of meds on the shelves. Autry adds the big name chain pharmacies usually don't carry these either because they're in the business to push fast turnover medication in order to sustain profitability.
So what's that mean for you? It means when you need your medicine, it may not be available. Your pharmacist will have to special order it.
Plain and simply; Autry and other pharmacies will be making less profit and that will trickle down to the hours of operation and medications they offer to their customers.
As cut backs have already been made, Autry says there are more to come by weeks end once the change over is official.
For more informaiton on the switch to managed care, click on the link below.