The Lupus Research Institute Applauds Coalition Member for Leadership in NY State Advocacy Initiative

As reported in many media outlets, LRI National Coalition Member, the Lupus Foundation of Mid and Northern New York, Inc. has joined up with influential legislative champions and numerous patient groups on a critical issue that is exacerbating existing health disparities among many underserved populations. The group is urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to reconsider a cost-cutting measure that makes it more difficult for millions of patients with chronic illnesses like lupus who are covered by Medicaid to afford necessary medications.  In addition, the current regulations allow health benefits managers, rather than physician prescribers, to decide on the best medication for some patients.

President/CEO of the Lupus Foundation of Mid and Northern New York Kathleen A. Arntsen moderated and spoke at a recent press conference on the initiative. “The prescriber prevails language was originally included in the NYS Medicaid Pharmacy Benefit to ensure that the prescribing physician was able to make the ultimate decision about which drug therapy is best for his/her patient,” noted Arntsen. “Removing it has done nothing but create more obstacles to overcome, disruption in vital care, and total chaos for Medicaid enrollees, family members, and health providers. Since the vast majority of Medicaid enrollees in New York State are children, blind/disabled, and elderly; and more than 50% are people of color, these limitations to treatment disproportionately affect access to vital health care for the most vulnerable populations. We urge NYS officials to restore previous patient protections to Medicaid and stop the mayhem.”

Additional members of the LRI Coalition participating in this important advocacy effort are Lupus Agencies of NYS, including:

Lupus Foundation of Genesee Valley NY, Inc.
Lupus Alliance of America, Upstate NY Affiliate
Lupus Alliance of America, LI/Queens Affiliate
Lupus Alliance of America, NY Southern Tier Affiliate
S.L.E. Lupus Foundation

The Associated Press issued the following correction: In a March 11 story about organizations pushing the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo to spend more on medications covered by Medicaid, The Associated Press misidentified one group. It is the Lupus Foundation of Mid and Northern New York, Inc., not a chapter of the national Lupus Foundation.