Statement by Leading Patient Advocacy Groups Regarding Patient Protections

Leading patient advocacy groups released a statement today that acknowledged the correct decision made by Gov. Cuomo to allow Medicaid recipients access to all forms of contraception. But they also urge the Governor to address the lack of patient protections for other vulnerable populations. Below is the statement.

For immediate release:

March 7, 2012


“The Governor’s recent decision to reverse limitations on patient choice regarding contraception for those on Medicaid is an important step in the right direction. However, many other vulnerable patient populations still need the Governor’s help.

For example, people with mental illness who finally find a drug that works for them do not want to be told to try another drug, which might fail. The same is true of those undergoing chemotherapy, treatment for HIV/AIDS, or a host of other treatments and therapies.

“Prescriber prevails” is the answer. Under prescriber prevails, a doctor determines what drug a patient receives in consultation with the patient, not a health benefits business manager who is only concerned with short term cost savings.

This focus on short term cost savings is neither humane nor cost effective in the long run. Forcing people to try other drugs that fail ultimately results in higher costs.

The Governor has now fixed the problem regarding contraception. It is imperative that he address other critical patient needs. In this regard, there is yet to be a disease or ailment where every patient responds to every treatment in the same way. It is our firm belief that all patients deserve the same level of care and consideration for their specific disease and their individual safety concerns.  We urge the Governor to take the same swift action to protect all patients.”

Kathleen Arntsen, President/CEO, Lupus Foundation of Mid and Northern New York

Geri Barish, Executive Director, 1 in 9: Long Island Breast Cancer Coalition

Andrea Smyth, Executive Director, NYS Coalition for Children’s Mental Health Services

Paul Gileno, President/Founder/Executive Director, U.S. Pain Foundation

Harvey Rosenthal, Executive Director, New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services

Glenn Liebman, Executive Director, Mental Health Association for New York State

Carol LaFleur, Executive Director, Northeast Kidney Foundation

Anna Lamb, DO, President, New York State Osteopathic Medical Society

Reinaldo Cardona, Executive Director, National Association of Social Workers – New York State Chapter

Sean Barry, Executive Director, VOCAL-NY

-Jaime Venditti, 3/7/12