Safety net providers won a two-year delay in a change to the state’s Medicaid program they worried would have made the cost of prescription drugs to fight illnesses like AIDS and hepatitis C more expensive. 

“Small community health clinics rely on this funding to provide critical services to our patients, many of whom are living with HIV/AIDS. This much-needed delay will allow us to continue to fight back against COVID-19 – and ensure that our patients have the life-saving medication they depend on. We are grateful to the leadership of the Senate and Assembly for all the work they’ve done on behalf of our communities,” said Michael Lee, the secretary of RWC-340B and COO of Evergreen Health Services. 

The change for how prescription drug costs would be reimbursed to providers was meant to save millions of dollars under the state’s Medicaid program and had been recommended by the committee tasked with assessing spending in the program.

But safety net providers as well as some lawmakers raised objections to the provision, arguing the cost shift would be borne by lower-income people. 

“We are incredibly thankful to our champions in the Senate and Assembly who never stopped fighting for New York’s most vulnerable patients. This agreement gives us time to work on a long-term plan that will achieve savings without balancing the budget on the backs of New Yorkers in need,” said Mark Malahosky Treasurer of RWC-340B and Vice President of Pharmacy Services at Trillium Health.