Prescription Writing Law for Medicaid Patients

Tamper Proof PrescriptionTucked away in the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act of 2007, is a little known law that takes effect 10/1/2007 that will impact all practices seeing Medicaid patients.

This law, once it is implemented, will require us to write Medicaid prescriptions on special tamper-resistant prescription pads or use electronic prescribing.

You can read the article here: Law to Make Prescriptions Tamper-Proof Raises Concerns

If you are currently not doing either, this can definitely have a impact on your practice. I looked into some of the tamper proof papers (for the printer as well as prescription pads, and they are certainly more expensive.

Electronic prescribing can be problematic depending on the level of technology your office has, as well as your local pharmacies (when I last checked, only a few pharmacies were set up for this). I foresee having to limit Medicaid patients to certain pharmacies.

Here are some links to free electronic prescribing:

Here are some sources for papers:
Medical Arts Press – Tamper Proof Rx Pads
Prescription Paper

I am hopeful that faxing directly from your computer/EMR system will meet regulations as well.

And now, for my rant: What really bothers me here, is that just yesterday, when looking up reimbursement fee from our state Medicaid office, I discovered that they very quietly had reduced reimbursement, sometimes as much as $10 for a new office visit. This comes on the tail of some preliminary data we are pulling together. We are figuring our cost per patient and it turns out we are just breaking even on some of our DSHS patients, and we even have a few that we lose money when we see them. Adding another cost to the practice for these folks does not make business sense.

Don’t get me wrong…I think everyone needs good health care, but a practice is a business. We need to bring in enough money to pay our bills (which includes staff salaries and taxes) as well as have a salary for ourselves. This does not help.

Already in my community, several practices are closed to new Medicaid patients. How many more may be added to the ranks, and where will they go? Why is it that the providers are having to take on more and more of the cost of seeing patients? End of rant.

Back to work now….

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