MENDOZA RELEASES $4.7M TO HELP RURAL PHARMACIES
Money will help local pharmacists squeezed by managed care and PBMs
SPRINGFIELD – More than 70 independent pharmacies in largely rural and downstate communities will benefit from $4.7 million released today by Illinois Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza for a new program that will offer relief to these vital small businesses.
The payments will be released under the Critical Access Pharmacy program for pharmacies determined by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Human Services to be located in medically underserved areas of the state.
These supplemental state payments will assist small, independently owned pharmacies that have experienced serious financial difficulty because of rates offered under the state’s managed care program and also because of rate cuts by pharmacy benefit managers.
“Small rural pharmacies – often the only pharmacies available for miles and miles – are being driven out of business all over Illinois because of unfair competition and state policies,” said Mendoza, who has called for more transparency and accountability within the state’s managed care program. “It is important that we step in to help these frontline health care providers stay in business so that they can continue to be there for residents in underserved areas of the state.”
State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), chairman of a key Senate budget committee, this spring pressed for renewed appropriations for the Critical Access Pharmacy program after the previous governor failed to get it off the ground.
“I hear from pharmacists in my Senate district and all over the state nearly every day about the financial hardship they face because of unfair competition,” Manar said. “It troubles me to see these small business owners being squeezed out because of state policies they had no control over. Every time a rural pharmacy closes its doors, communities lose access to health care, jobs and economic activity. Establishing this program is the right thing to do.”