ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — There will be a Save Our Access, Save Our Lives rally on October 12 at 2 p.m. where The New York Oncology Hematology (NYOH) will call on the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and state leaders to reverse a policy that has left Medicaid patients without access to life-saving cancer care medication.

NYOH will be joined by partner organizations, community leaders, and elected officials as they advocate for Medicaid recipients to regain access to life-saving oral cancer care medications through physician dispensaries. The rally is asking for support from legislators and representatives that can help resolve this problem for patients. Director of Pharmacy & Admixture Services for NYOH, Nancy Egerton comments on the situation by saying she’s “glad to have such a diverse group of people attending this rally.” Egerton hopes the outcome of this event is a positive resolution.

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) made a policy change to their Medicaid Pharmacy Program that prevents Medicaid patients from obtaining their oral medications through their physician dispensary. This forces patients to receive their oral cancer medication prescriptions from a mail-order pharmacy­, adversely affecting cancer patients’ care. According to the NYSDOH website, beginning in April 2023, all Medicaid consumers enrolled in Mainstream Managed Care will receive their prescription drugs through the Medicaid Fee-For-Service (FFS) Pharmacy Program. The FFS Program will allow NYS to pay pharmacies directly for the drugs and supplies of Medicaid consumers. The NYSDOH notified patients on September 1 leaving patients under Medicaid-managed care to try and go to an alternate source than their physician. The mail-order pharmacy creates problems and long waits for needed medication.

The NYOH are not considered a pharmacy but a dispensary not allowing patients to get their prescriptions filled at NYOH. The NYOH approached the NYSDOH about two years ago asking to be enrolled as a dispensary and allowing patients to get their prescriptions. August of 2022, the NYOH was informed that this enrollment was not going to happen.

The rally will take place on October 12 at 2 p.m. at the West Capitol Park, 85 Swan Street, Albany. Many people such as Sabrina Mosseau, Executive Director, of New York Oncology Hematology; Nancy Egerton, pharmacy manager, New York Oncology Hematology; Dr. Karen Tedesco, vice president, New York Oncology Hematology; Michael Reff, founder and executive director of National Community Oncology Dispensing Association (NCODA); Corey Ellis, Albany City Common Council President; Assemblyman John McDonald; Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy; and Meaghan Rossbach, a representative for Assemblymember Jake Ashby will be in attendance.