Mental Health Groups Rail Against Proposed Policy Change

1

Mental health advocates are railing against a change in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal Tuesday that gives prescribing authority to health plan managers rather than doctors.

The move would cut costs, if approved, as managers will be able to prescribe less expensive medications. While lower-cost medicine might not cause problems for patients with routine ailments, advocates warn the effects of this policy on the seriously mentally ill could be disastrous.

The change would reverse a provision in last year’s budget known as the “prescriber prevails” policy. It had guaranteed that doctors would have final say.

“This decision should not be left to health plans,” Glenn Liebman, CEO of the state Mental Health Association, said in a statement. “In these difficult times, we must have strong protections for people with psychiatric disabilities.”

Liebman and other professionals urged Cuomo to include an exception for the prescription of “atypical antipsychotics,” which some mentally ill patients use.

“Now that the New York state budget eliminates a doctor’s ability to prescribe the best atypical antipsychotic medication for an individual, we know that New York is leading patients and providers down a dangerous path,” said Carmen Collado, president of the Association of Hispanic Mental Health Professionals. “With the stress caused by Hurricane Sandy, and the tragic events in Newtown and Webster, Governor Cuomo needs to show that he is committed to mental health care and resolve this immediately.”

A group the represents patients with HIV/AIDS said people with multiple illnesses might be especially injured by the policy change.

“Many of our clients are dually diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and mental illness. We know, first hand, the inherent difficulty of balancing drug regimens to best treat our clients’ significant needs,” the New York City-based Gay Men’s Health Crisis said in a statement.

“The Governor’s decision is especially perplexing given the actions taken by him and the legislature last week to help prevent the repetition of recent tragedies involving guns and mental illness,” the group continued. “This is the exact wrong time for New York to switch course and restrict access to antipsychotic medications.”

Share.

About Author

1 Comment

  1. After the tragedy at Sandy Hook by a Mentally Ill patient it is insane for the state government to take away the final authority from the prescribing physician. This is just wrong, wrong, wrong.