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Local experts react to plan to form Medicaid Redesign Team

Emily Burkhard
Updated: January 22, 2020 07:28 PM
Created: January 22, 2020 06:16 PM

ALBANY - On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo acknowledged a $2.5 billion gap in Medicaid funding during his budget address.

He's announced plans for a Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) that will look at the system to find inefficiencies to save some money without impacting beneficiaries.

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This is the second time the governor has formed a MRT. The first team was formed back in 2011.

Crystal Perry is a licensed practical nurse and political organizer with 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. Perry said a lot has changed since the first phase MRT.

"They're going to have to look at the differences between then and now and revamp some things, look at things very closely," Perry said. "We can't afford any cuts to Medicaid, not now not ever, no cuts."

Assemblyman and pharmacist John McDonald said a significant amount of money could be saved through the use of telemedicine, medical transportation services, and urgent care facilities as alternatives to ambulances and emergency room visits.

McDonald also believes tweaking prescription refill guidelines could save the state millions. New York currently allows people covered by Medicaid to refill prescriptions almost a week early.

"Maybe we can move it back a couple days and see if you can get your prescription filled five days ahead of time," McDonald said. "Look at it over the course of the year, essentially a patient could get 14 months' worth of refills in a 12-month period of time."

Though the MRT is already on a tight timeline, McDonald said he would like to see its recommendations in early March. That way legislators have time to review the findings and make changes of their own before the April 1 budget deadline.

Stay tuned to NewsChannel 13 for updates.


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