Critics Complain About Changes In Mental Health Coverage In Iowa, Ariz.

Under Iowa's new Medicaid rule, psychiatric patients can fill only 15 days' worth of medications at a time. In Arizona, state officials say the mental health system has weathered deep cuts, but advocates see harm from the move.

Des Moines Register: Medicaid Pill Limit For Psychiatric Patients Criticized
Mental health advocates and pharmacists are complaining about a new state rule limiting poor psychiatric patients to 15 days' worth of medications when they fill new prescriptions. The Medicaid rule, which took effect Sept. 1, is designed to save money for the state. It says pharmacies generally may dispense only 15 days' worth of more than 60 types of drugs when Medicaid patients bring in new prescriptions. Most of the drugs are antidepressants, antipsychotics or other medications used for brain disorders. In the past, patients could receive a month's worth (Leys, 9/21).

The Arizona Republic: State, Critics Disagreeing On Impact Of Mental-Health Cuts
Thousands of Arizona's most severely mentally ill lost a wide range of treatment and services last year when the state made deep budget cuts …. State health officials say the public mental-health system and the people it serves have weathered the cuts without significant incident, largely because of a beefed-up crisis-response system. People may be on the brink before they get help, officials say, but most appear to be getting it. But many of those directly affected, and the people who care for them, say the loss of services has caused harm to people, including hundreds who have become incarcerated, hospitalized due to psychotic breakdowns or fallen through the tattered safety net and disappeared (Reinhart, 9/21).

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