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Mental Health Advocates – Ask Your State Senators to Vote to Kill SB 383

Last September, the New Hampshire legislature voted to allow the Department of Health & Human Services to restrict access to drugs in the Medicaid program through the use of a preferred drug list (PDL). Once the list is established, only prescribed drugs on the list will be available automatically. To obtain a drug not on the list, consumers and their physicians will need prior permission. Getting permission can be a burden to the consumer, family and physician.

The legislature authorized use of a PDL as a cost-saving measure ONLY if three patient protections are in place (House Bill 4). The protections are:

  • A "mental health carve out" that says drugs used to treat severe mental illnesses (such as schizophrenia, severe depression, and bipolar disorder) are exempt from the PDL process.
  • A "grandfather clause" that says a consumer already enrolled in the Medicaid program and stable on one or more drugs can continue to receive automatic coverage for those drugs even if they do not make it onto the preferred list.
  • A "physician ratification requirement" that says decisions about which drugs should and should not be on the PDL must be ratified by a physician who practices in an appropriate medical specialty, does not have a financial interest in the state vendor managing the prescription drug program, and is not a member of the Pharmacy & Therapeutics Advisory Committee.

SB 383 threatenes all three of these important patient protections, although the House did insert amendments that appear to protect some of the provisions. It is now up to the Senate to decide and vote on this bill. Advocates should ask Senators to (1) Vote NO on SB 383, or if they must vote in favor of this bill, (2) Keep the amendments inserted by the House of Representatives currently in the legislation in place.

Please contact your Senator and ask them to vote to kill SB 383 or to keep the House Amendments in SB 383 in place.


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