FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
House Passes Legislation to Limit Step Therapy & Improve Urgent Medication Access
Patient and Physician Groups Applaud House Passage of HB 519, which Allows Physicians to Override Insurer Decisions in Treatment of Cancer, MS, Diabetes, Psoriasis, Arthritis & Other Chronic Conditions
Atlanta, GA (February 28, 2018) – More than 20 Georgia patient and provider groups led by the Rx in Reach GA Coalition today applauded the Georgia House of Representatives for passing House Bill 519 – legislation to limit the insurance practice known as step therapy. They also urge the Georgia Senate to pass this important legislation to protect Georgia patients, particularly those with chronic diseases, from being denied access to critical care.
House Bill 519, introduced by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), limits step therapy – also known “fail first” – protocols, whereby patients are forced by their insurance providers to try and fail on a series of treatments before they can obtain the medication prescribed by their physician. The legislation only limits step therapy and fail first protocols in certain critical situations, while still allowing insurers to use step therapy and require generics when doing so will not negatively impact patients. House Bill 519 creates a basic framework for when it is medically appropriate to exempt patients from step therapy protocols and establishes a transparent process for health care providers to request exceptions.
“Physicians know which medicines will work for their patients, and they must be afforded the tools and transparency to ensure they can make the best health care decisions,” said Rep. Cooper. “I’m proud that the Georgia House of Representatives decided to support this commonsense, patient-centric legislation and call on the Senate to follow the House's example.”
“This critical legislation introduces transparency and accountability into the step therapy process for Georgia patients,” said Dorothy Leone-Glasser, RN, HHC, the executive director of Advocates for Responsible Care, which leads the Rx in Reach GA Coalition. “This bill will ensure that Georgians, especially those living with chronic conditions, continue to have access to the treatments they need to protect their health.”
The Rx in Reach GA Coalition and other supporters of House Bill 519 include: Advocates for Responsible Care, American Cancer Society, Arthritis Foundation, the Atlanta Black Nurses Association, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Georgia AIDS Coalition, Georgia Asthma Coalition, Georgia Bio, Georgia Pain Initiative, Georgia Society of Clinical Oncology (GASCO), Georgians for a Healthy Future, Hemophilia of Georgia, LACES, Lung Cancer Alliance, Lupus Foundation of America – Georgia Chapter, Mental Health America, Metro Atlanta Rheumatology Society, National Eczema Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Patient Advocate Foundation, National Psoriasis Foundation, TRAGIC and U.S. Pain Foundation.
About Rx In Reach
The Rx in Reach GA Coalition – a project of Advocates for Responsible Care – is dedicated to giving a voice to Georgians who struggle with affordable access to medications. The coalition supports legislation to limit step therapy, as well as policies to keep out-of-pocket costs affordable for insured families in Georgia. For more information, visit www.RxinReachGA.org.
Dorothy Leone-Glasser, RN, HHC.
Executive Director, Advocates for Responsible Care (ARxC)
Advocacy and Disparities Chair, Leadership Council Arthritis Foundation, SE Region
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ARxC proud sponsor of March for Science Atlanta.
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Rx in Reach GA Coalition, Chair
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