Colfax Republican Joe Schmick says rural patients may not have a choice from where they get their prescription drugs, and he’s looking to change that.
He noted this past summer, the Washington Public Employee Benefit Board as well as the School Employee Benefit Board approved Kaiser Permanente as a health insurance provider. He said those that select KP have all of their prescriptions delivered via the mail. Schmick said this move is having an impact on rural Washington, first with the small-town pharmacies.
“A.) they’re not getting that business. They’re not being able to participate as a healthcare team they often are counseling their patients as they come in, they’re a part of the care team and we’ve just eliminated that because we’re only going to have mail-order only.”
Schmick said he is cosponsoring House Bill 1253, which he said would allow rural patients the right to choose.
“They should be able to make an affirmative choice on where they get their prescriptions I’ve had numerous pharmacies and patients calling me said I do not want to do mail order I want to go to my local pharmacist and be able to pick my prescriptions up one of the representatives I serve with has a type one the son is a type one diabetic well there’s been times when that insulin has not shown up and if you’re familiar with the type one diabetic that’s not you don’t have many choices here you if you don’t have your insulin you either die or you’re going to the hospital.”
Schmick added mail service is not reliable enough to get medication to patients in a timely fashion. He said in addition to the legislation in Olympia, Schmick is hopeful the rural community will push back on Kaiser Permanente to allow customers to have choice and sections.
If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-9791, or e-mail [email protected]