The Florida Pharmacy Association, several independent pharmacies, several independent pharmacists and a group of Medicaid patients have filed a lawsuit in Florida alleging that the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration has been secretly awarding health care contracts in order to privatize the program. One big problem is that the HMOs now in charge of Florida’s Medicaid program have started requiring patients to fill all long-term prescriptions via mail order, sending dollars out of the state and violate “freedom of choice” requirements that will ultimately cost the state thousands of jobs.

The Tallahassee Herald Tribune reports that the complaint filed by the Florida Pharmacy Association argues that “the unfettered transition of Medicaid patients to closed pharmacy networks has no financial or quality-of-care benefit to the state, while creating a huge … patient danger in rural areas and in access to quality of patient care.”

One news story reports that many pharmacies learned of the restrictions in a letter sent out by Amerigroup, a managed-care provider, notifying pharmacies that they would no longer be allowed to fill prescriptions ater July 9 for Medicaid and Florida Healthy Kids patients.

The bottom lines is that not only are jobs in danger, but the citizens of Florida are the ones that will ultimately suffer from restricted networks for Medicaid and Florida Healthy Kids patients.