Dozens of community organizations from around New York signed onto a lengthy letter this week imploring New York officials to reverse a "carve out" for prescription drugs under the state's Medicaid program.
The change is set to take effect April 1.
The program allows providers to purchase prescription drugs at a discounted price and, in turn, provide services like food and housing assistance to lower-income New Yorkers. Many of the prescription drugs impacted included medication for HIV and hepatitis C treatment.
"Community health programs supported by 340B are at the forefront of providing health services to New Yorkers experiencing homelessness," the groups wrote in the letter. "The carve-out will have a devastating and destabilizing impact on health care providers that serve New Yorkers who are homeless, and disruptions in care, treatment and services to this population will lead to lives lost and a higher burden of expensive emergency room care."
The Department of Health has said the move will save $87 million and help streamline the costly Medicaid program. The changes were also recommended by the Medicaid Redesign panel.
State lawmakers and community groups that provide services to low-income people have mounted a sustained effort to push back, however.
"This new policy will provide little to no benefit to the state and will devastate patients and the safety net providers they rely on for care," the letter states. "We urge you to reverse the 'carve-out' as soon as possible."