VIRTUAL PRESS CONFERENCE TO SAVE NYS SAFETY NET

“Harlem United thanks the NYC Council for passing Resolution 1529 and standing up for NY’s safety net providers and the communities we serve. It is critically important to the health and safety of NY’s most vulnerable and underserved communities–the very communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic–that the pharmacy carve-out be rejected. If implemented, the carve-out will victimize the communities who already face significant barriers to effective disease prevention and treatment and will further limit their access to care.”
– Jacqui Kilmer, CEO of Harlem United

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 18, 2021

Contact:
Nick Brennan | NBrennan@Kivvit.com | 908-461-5600

NYC COUNCIL MEMBER MARK LEVINE AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS HOST VIRTUAL PRESS CONFERENCE TO SAVE OUR SAFETY NET

Governor Cuomo’s Plan for Medicaid Pharmacy Carve-Out Meets Overwhelming Opposition in State Legislature and NYC Council

City Council Holds Press Conference to Address Mounting Pressure Against Carve-Out

Community Health Centers Across the State Praised the NYS Legislature’s One House Bill

NEW YORK – On Thursday, New York City Council Health Committee Chair Mark Levine and community leaders from the Save NY’s Safety Net coalition held a virtual press conference and addressed the mounting opposition to the Medicaid pharmacy carve-out. Opposition reached a new level as the NYC Council passed a Resolution sponsored by Councilman Levine, demanding the New York State Governor and the State Legislature immediately eliminate the State’s plan to carve-out the federal 340B drug discount program from the Medicaid managed care program in the current state budget. 

Momentum had built over the week, days after the state Assembly and Senate each presented budget proposals striking down or delaying the proposed Medicaid pharmacy carve-out. While both houses moved to prevent the carve-out from taking place, the Assembly version of the budget delays the cuts, while the Senate version is a full repeal. The City Council vote comes after a year of advocates fighting tirelessly to prevent the catastrophic cuts. 

The state’s plan to “carve-out” Medicaid prescription drugs would have disastrous effects on care centers and would devastate 340B drug discount program providers including community health centers, hospitals and HIV care management organizations. The 340B program allows safety net providers to purchase deeply discounted drugs and use the savings to provide essential services from housing aid to food assistance for low-income New Yorkers. Albany’s plan is scheduled to take effect on May 1, 2021 and will cause widespread and disastrous consequences statewide. 

“The funds generated by the 340B program are critical to New York City’s ability to wage a wide range of public health battles, including against covid. This program is a vital tool in our efforts to tear down the systematic inequalities in the health system,” said Health Chair Mark Levine.  “It is therefore utterly indefensible that the State would consider eliminating this critical program, especially at the height of a pandemic that has ravaged low-income communities in our city. Albany must reverse this carve-out immediately and restore funding to the communities that need it the most. I am grateful that my colleagues in the City Council are going on record against what would be draconian cuts during a generational health crisis.”

“Callen-Lorde is immensely grateful to the NYC Council for passing Resolution 1529 and to the state Assembly and Senate for articulating a solution to the pharmacy carve-out in their one-house budgets,” said Wendy Stark, Executive Director for the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. “It’s clear that there is growing support to put an end to this devastating plan. We stand ready to be a resource for New York’s policy and decision makers – as they deliberate a final New York State budget – to protect our state’s healthcare safety net.”

“We applaud the NYC Council Resolution and the one-house budget bills from the New York State Assembly and Senate which include measures to stop the Medicaid pharmacy carve-out and protect safety-net providers access to the federal 340B program,” says Sharen Duke, CEO, Alliance for Positive Change. “The carve-out would upend the strides we’ve made towards ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and we stand with our elected officials in this fight to delay and reject the cave-out — and prevent the Governor and New York State Department of Health from plugging its budget gap on the backs of low-income New Yorkers.”

“Harlem United thanks the NYC Council for passing Resolution 1529 and standing up for NY’s safety net providers and the communities we serve,” said Jacquelyn Kilmer, CEO of Harlem United. “It is critically important to the health and safety of NY’s most vulnerable and underserved communities–the very communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic–that the pharmacy carve-out be rejected. If implemented, the carve-out will victimize the communities who already face significant barriers to effective disease prevention and treatment and will further limit their access to care.”

“We stand with Councilman Levine and the City Council and wholeheartedly support the passage of this resolution,” said Charles King, CEO and Co-founder, Housing Works. “The 340B pharmaceutical benefit carve-out could essentially destroy the current community healthcare safety net. Community health centers, Ryan White clinics and other similar healthcare providers are among the best means at our disposal to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine, support people with COVID-19 and provide a statewide means of healthcare delivery that provides real health equity for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities across the state.”

“If the pharmacy carve-out goes forward, Damian Family Care Centers will be forced to stop providing free medication to more than a thousand of our uninsured or underinsured patients,” said Henry Bartlett, Vice President of Government & Community Relations at Damien Family Care Centers, Inc. “This means that these patients will no longer get life-saving medications to treat HIV, hepatitis C, substance use disorder, mental health disorder, and a variety of other ailments. This would be bad public health policy at any time.  It is particularly bad policy in the middle of a once-in-a-generation public health crisis.”

“We are thrilled that the NYC Council has joined the City of Albany in passing a resolution calling for the reversal of the 340B Medicaid carve-out,” said  Perry Junjulas, Executive Director of Albany Damien Center. “The issue impacts the preservation of the healthcare safety net for upstate and downstate alike. We join in thanking the NYC Council and CM Levine’s efforts to send a clear message of support for community health centers and help all New Yorkers who would be impacted adversely by this change.”

“Apicha Community Health Center is deeply grateful to the New York City Council for passing Resolution 1529, rejecting the New York State’s Medicaid pharmacy “carve-out” for safety net providers. Preserving access to quality, affordable healthcare for the most vulnerable New Yorkers is critical to not only ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but also addressing the devastation caused by COVID-19,” said Therese Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer of Apicha Community Health Center 

“Our community health centers are this region’s safety net. We serve a majority of patients that are in a Medicaid managed care plan and proceeding with this carve out would disproportionately impact our most vulnerable patients and a majority of our patient populations,” said Raymond Ganoe, President & Chief Executive Officers of Evergreen Health. “At Evergreen Health, a 340B carve out would affect 70% of Evergreen’s patient population, because they are in a managed care plan. That’s a 70% loss in revenue, when our patients need us the most. We need to ensure that pharmacy remains a plan benefit for Medicaid managed care so that the FQHCs across the region can continue to do our important and lifesaving work.”

 “Ryan Health applauds the New York City Council and the Health Committee under the leadership of Chair Mark Levine for passing a resolution standing with vulnerable New Yorkers and opposing the misguided Medicaid pharmacy carveout,” said Brian McIndoe, President and CEO, Ryan Health. “Our 340B savings have allowed us to extend lifesaving services to our patients and community members both during the COVID-19 pandemic and pre-pandemic. We keep our patients healthy and out of overburdened emergency rooms and hospitals. If the carveout moves forward, it will have a devastating impact on the healthcare safety net and communities throughout New York City and across the state.” 

For more information on the coalition and the campaign, visit www.savenysafetynet.com.

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About Save NY’s Safety Net: 340B Saves Lives

Save New York’s Safety Net: 340B Saves Lives is a statewide coalition of community health clinics and community-based organizations that is committed to serving vulnerable New Yorkers across the state, ending the AIDS epidemic and saving the 340B drug discount program.