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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of February 20 - 26, 2002

  News

Drug plan slammed at Blaine Manor meeting


By TRAVIS PURSER
Express Staff Writer

A proposal before the Idaho Legislature that would require Medicaid recipients to get state authorization before having more than four drug prescriptions filled at once was slammed repeatedly last week during a board meeting of Blaine Countyís only skilled-care nursing home.

The requirement could prevent individuals from taking incompatible drugs, and could save the state money by preventing patients from stockpiling drugs. But, at residential facilities like Blaine Manor, requiring authorization would be pointless, because trained on-site staff administer drugs, said Blaine Manorís director Gail Goglia and board Chairwoman Mary Ann Mix.

The requirement would add an expensive and time-consuming layer of bureaucracy to the management of the already financially struggling home. However, no additional money would be made available to cover the extra cost, said the homeís director of finance, Stephanie Jaskowski.

One of Blaine Manorís 25 residents required 30 prescription drugs that cost $1,884 in one month, Jaskowski said.

"I thought (Gov. Dirk Kempthorne) was worried about the incompatibility of drugs. I thought he was trying to be compassionate. Wrong," Mix said.

"Itís absolutely ridiculous," Goglia said.

The proposed authorization requirement could be beneficial at facilities that donít have good oversight of prescriptions, said Kathleen Allyn, deputy administrator of Medicaid.

But, so far, the proposed rules would not distinguish between homes with medical directors, who oversee prescriptions, and homes without medical directors.

Blaine Manor employs both a medical director and a pharmacy consultant.

Allyn said Medicaid and the Idaho Health Care Association, which focuses on nursing home issues, will meet to discuss the matter further.

The prescription proposal is part of a plan by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and the governor to trim more than $15 million from the Medicaid budget next year.

The plan also proposes to require a review of patient records after a patientís third day in a hospital, rather than after the fourth day; to realign the state-run Medicaidís reimbursement rates with the federal Medicare rates. Itís also intended to help prevent illness by expanding the Healthy Connections program, which promotes communication between doctors and patients.

Earlier this month, the Legislatureís Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee went one step further by cutting money for adult dental care and mental health.

 


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.