Help us stop restrictions on mental health medications for North Carolina's Medicaid patients. Restricting access to mental health medicines could: threaten patient health; interfere with a doctor's recommended treatment regimen; increase potential for homelessness, violence and incarceration; and, raise Medicaid costs in the long term for the state.
Limiting access to mental health medicines could have serious consequences for North Carolina's mentally ill, the general public and the state budget. Finding the right medicine to treat a mental illness takes a great deal of time and effort for a doctor and a patient. When the right medicine is found it can mean the difference between living a full, productive life and living a secluded, desperate existence. Prior authorization would put the power of choosing that medicine in the hands of the state, not the doctors and health care professionals that have been trained to effectively treat mental illness.
Any change in a medication can lead to a patient missing scheduled meds or not taking them at all. When a similar idea was passed in Maine, Medicaid saw nearly a 20% risk of patients going over 30 days without their medicine. (Health Affairs) This leads to personal mental health problems and societal problems like homelessness and violent crimes.
Finally, using prior authorization as a short term solution to save money only raises costs in the future. When patients aren't receiving their medicines correctly, the state will instead incur costs for doctor visits, emergency visits, hospital stays and incarceration.
I hope that you agree with me that a short-term $15 million savings is not worth the devastating effects that this legislation will have on patients, society and long-term state budgets. Please vote against prior authorizing mental health medicines.