Assemblymember Steck’s Bill Expands Access to Affordable Medication and Health Care

Assemblymember Phil Steck (D-Colonie) announced that his bill including not-for-profit pharmacies operated by institutions of higher education in the networks covered by Medicaid passed the Assembly (A.7922-A). The legislation will make pharmacy coverage more accessible for medically underserved communities in New York.

“Ensuring Medicaid covers prescriptions filled at not-for-profit pharmacies means providing medicine and care to those who often most need it,” said Steck. “It’s more cost-effective, but more importantly, it paves the way for better care and better health in communities that go overlooked.”

There are two not-for-profit pharmacies operated by institutions of higher education in Albany and Schenectady counties, and their mission is to provide pharmacy and health care services to medically underserved communities. These pharmacies also provide a distinct learning experience for pharmacy students.

Pharmacies such as these can play an important role in helping people achieve better health outcomes and lower rates of hospitalization and emergency room visits, noted Steck.

According to a 2016 study by the Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy, pharmacies that integrate other medical services in the community realized a savings of $58 per member per month, approximately $700,000 per 1,000 patients annually. 1

"I would like to commend the passage of this critically important legislation by Assemblymember Phil Steck, Assembly Health Committee Chair Gottfried and the Capital Region Assembly delegation," said T. Gregory Dewey, Ph.D., President of Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. "The bill ensures access by Medicaid enrollees in Albany and Schenectady counties to non-profit pharmacies that are patient-centered; while also providing pharmacy students the opportunity of practicing in medically underserved areas. This legislation will reduce costs to the Medicaid system, while improving patient outcomes through medication adherence, greater access to pharmacy services and medication education and counseling."

"Plain and simple, this is common sense legislation that will ensure healthy outcomes for children and families," said Joe Gambino, CEO of Hometown Health Centers.

By bringing care to neighborhoods with dire need, not-for-profit pharmacies help save money by decreasing costs for transportation and other expensive health care services, noted Steck.