State officials and doctor and pharmacist organizations are protesting a new rule that requires all non-electronic prescriptions for Medicaid patients to be written on tamper-resistant paper. Congress passed the rule, which goes into effect October 1, 2007, as part of an Iraq spending bill in May.
The tamper-resistant paper rule is designed to crack down on Medicaid fraud and raise $150 billion over five years for public hospitals. State Medicaid directors and doctors and pharmacist groups are asking for a one-year delay to the rule, claiming it cannot be implemented by October 1. The groups worry the new rule will cause delays in patients getting needed drugs.
The tamper-resistant paper must have a way to prevent unauthorized copying, a way to prevent erasure or modification of what the prescriber has written, and a way to prevent the use of counterfeit prescription forms. Under the rule, if a patient has a prescription on the wrong type of paper, pharmacists can fill it, but must get the prescriber's confirmation by phone, fax, e-mail, or tamper-proof paper within three days. If the pharmacy does not get a confirmation, it will not be reimbursed by Medicaid.
For an article in USA Today about the new rule, click here.