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Thousands of Utah Medicaid patients affected by pharmacy vendor network outage

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Thousands of Utah Medicaid patients affected by pharmacy vendor network outage

Feb 26, 2024 | 6:07 pm ET
By Alixel Cabrera
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Thousands of Utah Medicaid patients affected by pharmacy vendor network outage
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About 17,000 Medicaid members in Utah are being impacted by a pharmacy vendor network outage. (Photo by Getty Images)

About 17,000 Medicaid members in Utah may have to refill their high-risk medication prescriptions in an unusual way — asking pharmacies to provide them without payment until March 2, due to a pharmacy vendor network outage.

After experiencing a cyber security issue, Change Healthcare decided to disconnect its system to prevent further impact, reads the last update from the technology company, posted Monday.

The Medicaid team in the Utah Department of Health and Human Services and the Utah Department of Workforce Services has been contacting those affected by the outage, including working through the weekend, to provide them guidance on the process. 

Utah Medicaid advised pharmacists to provide up to a 30-day supply of medications for free. The entity created a system to reimburse the expenses within a week, a DHHS news release reads.

“We need Medicaid members to get their critical medications,” Jen Strohecker, director of Utah Medicaid, said in the release. “But we also need to make sure pharmacies don’t go out of business.”

Because this is optional, some pharmacies have chosen not to refill the prescriptions at no cost for the time being, a DHHS spokesperson said. 

The cases of members whose prescriptions will be due between March 3 and 9 are still being reviewed, the release reads.

According to the release, state employees are contacting patients with certain medications essential to stay alive or to reduce behavioral health conditions, including “diabetes, cancer, blood pressure, epilepsy, asthma and breathing issues, pain, or hemophilia, as well as medications for supporting mental health or treating depression, anxiety, or substance use disorder.”