Illinois State Senate District 48 issued the following announcement on March 20.
To ensure the stability of small, independent pharmacies through the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza is releasing nearly $1 million to critical access pharmacies in rural and underserved communities.
The move comes one day after State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) penned a letter to Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Theresa Eagleson urging her office to expedite payments under the Critical Access Pharmacy Program as a way to help bolster rural pharmacies as they brace for the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic into their communities.
"For rural Illinois families, the nearest hospital can be miles away in a different community, meaning pharmacies are the only local source of health care and medical relief," Manar said. "As this pandemic spreads into rural Illinois communities, the importance of keeping small, local pharmacies stable cannot be overstated. Expediting CAP payments is a major help, and I appreciate the Pritzker administration’s swift action.”
The payments are being released under the Critical Access Pharmacy program for pharmacies that are determined by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to be located in medically underserved areas of the state. Manar, a leading advocate of the CAP program, negotiated its renewed funding in the state’s fiscal year 2019 budget to support independent pharmacies.
These supplemental state payments will assist small, independently owned pharmacies that have experienced serious financial difficulty because of lower rates offered under the state's managed care program and also because of rate cuts by pharmacy benefit managers.
"Locally owned pharmacies - often the only pharmacies available for miles in any direction - are vital to stopping the spread of the coronavirus in rural communities," Mendoza said. "It's more important than ever that we ensure these payments continue to go out so these small businesses can continue to be there for the people they serve."
This is the third disbursement to critical access pharmacies under the program. The comptroller released $4.7 million in payments on July 1 and $1.9 million on Dec. 10.
Original source can be found here.