Health Officials urge state to cover addiction fighting drugs under Medicaid plans

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Lansing, Mich. (WLNS)– Medicaid coverage in Michigan hasn’t always been easy to understand, which is why the state developed what’s known as the Common Formulary.

“The common formulary has this huge list of drugs that it covers for its Medicaid health plans here in Michigan. By creating the common formulary, it created more coverage consistency,” Trish Bouck, the Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Pharmacy Management Division said.

This morning, health care stakeholders met to discuss and get clarification on the Common Formulary.

“If there is a drug that somebody is having an issue getting covered or added to the list of the formulary drugs they could come here and propose the recommendation for coverage,” Bouck said.

Because new drugs are entering the market all the time, the list of covered drugs is constantly changing, which is why the state relies on public comment to spark discussions about which prescription drugs should be considered.

Rebecca Linihan, a Recovery Specialist for Covered Bridge HealthCare in St. Joseph County, attended the panel today to urge the state to consider adding Lucemyra as a covered prescription. Lucemyra is used to treat symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Linihan says her workplace can prescribe Vivitrol to people going through withdrawal, but only after being drug-free for 14 days.

“We really cannot wait with people that severe withdrawal, because they will go back out into the streets using street drugs, or they end up in jail and that’s not the ideal situation,” Linihan said.

Linihan says in St. Joseph County there’s a large population of people addicted to opioids, so she’s hoping the state will add a drug to the common formulary that will help people in the meantime.

According to Bowk, recommendations from today’s panel will be considered by the State’s Health Department. Medicaid patients and providers are also encouraged to submit comments.

If you’re having trouble getting medication that you need, information to submit a comment can be found here.

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