ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) –  Epilepsy advocates are hoping a bill that passed in both the state senate and assembly will be signed into law soon to give patients on Medicaid better access to their prescriptions.

The bill allows patients to get their medications from any pharmacy throughout the state, not just in network pharmacies by ensuring independent pharmacies get reimbursed at fair rates. This allows patients to stay with their known pharmacist and avoid having to travel far distances, which especially impacts those with epilepsy who may not be able to drive. 

“A lot of the pharmacies that are in network don’t set up in areas of low income participants or in rural areas,” said Mike Radell, Education Coordinator and Camp Director with Empowering People’s Independence.

“A lot of seizure medications are controlled substances so they literally may only have a day or two where they can go and actually pick up their prescriptions so if that’s not a time where they can have a family member or friend drive them, they can’t get their medication, and if you can’t get your medication and you have a seizure disorder, that could be absolutely catastrophic,” said neurologist Dr. Timothy Lynch.

Dr. Lynch says some of the most common hospital admissions and ICU stays are due to people who have seizures because they missed their medication. The bill now awaits the governor’s signature.