Edmonds’ Bartell Drugs to stop filling DSHS/Medicaid prescriptions

Due to recent reductions in compensation from the State of Washington to pharmacies filling DSHS/Medicaid prescriptions, Bartell Drugs — including the location in Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace — will discontinue filling Medicaid prescriptions. The locations involve 15 of its 57 stores, including 12 in King and three in Snohomish county, effective February 1, 2010.

According to a Bartell news release, on Sept. 26, 2009, the industry pricing standard was reduced as a result of a court decision in Massachusetts. Unlike most other insurance providers, including other states, the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) has made no effort to offset this significant reduction, resulting in sizable reductions in payments to pharmacies, according to George D. Bartell, chairman and CEO of the Seattle-based family-owned drugstore chain.

Bartell said lengthy discussions between pharmacy industry leaders and DSHS, along with subsequent legal actions, have failed to resolve the issue thus far. He said the intent is merely to return to the established level of compensation prior to the September 26, 2009 court action.

“We want to fill prescriptions. Bartell Drugs is here to serve our customers – to fill their prescriptions and meet their health care needs and we feel we do a good job offering outstanding patient care. Accordingly, this is a painful decision and one we do not take lightly. We want to be clear that the decision has nothing to do with our DSHS customers, but only with the State,” Bartell said. “We look forward to serving these customers any other way we can.

“I can’t speak for other pharmacies across the state, but we hope that the State will reconsider their reimbursement and meet its responsibility to provide access to all Medicaid recipients. Our sincere hope is that this issue will be resolved so we do not need to expand our exclusion of DSHS prescription services to additional locations,” he added.

Company officials are urging concerned customers to contact the Governor’s office at 360-902-4111, or local state legislators through the legislative hotline, 1-800-562-6000.

  1. This is a tough break not only for the Medicaid recipients, but for the State itself. With the budget hole Olympia is already trying to fill, this only adds to the list of worthy causes calling for cash.

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