Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 05.27.21

Local Pharmacists Need Help Fighting Back Against Billion Dollar Pharmacy Benefit Managers

Dear Editor:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, local pharmacists were asked to do more while making less – often times losing money thanks to the practices by Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs).

PBMs are middle-men that dictate reimbursement rates and often determine the formulary of medicines a patient’s doctors can prescribe – all in an effort to maximize profits for insurers and themselves. Left out of the equation are the health care outcomes of patients – many of which are low-income minority patients suffering from a multitude of hard to treat chronic medical conditions.

Local pharmacists are also overwhelmed with administrative requirements by PBMs related to reporting, audits, appeals of reimbursements and fighting “clawbacks” – the practice by which PBMs will often withhold current reimbursements based on a supposed “overpayment” in previous months. This introduces fiscal uncertainty into an already precarious operating environment.

Many local pharmacists seek to offset PBMs by voluntarily banding together in Pharmacy Services Administration Organizations (PSAOs) whose purpose is to negotiate better contracts with PBMs on behalf of their members as well as shoulder many of the onerous administrative demands imposed by PBMs. PSAOs allow pharmacists to spend more time treating patients at the counter and less time doing paperwork in the back office. I am a member of a PSAO.

Now, fearing the dilution of their own power, PBMs are seeking to deflect calls for their regulation and instead are calling for PSAOs to be regulated. We can’t fall for this misdirection.

It is time for New York to support main street pharmacists over multi-billion dollar Wall Street companies.

Dr. Miller Young

Young’s Pharmacy & General Store

Averill Park

Foster Care Awareness Month

To the Editor:

May is Foster Care Awareness Month, and as the REGION foster parent homefinder for Northern Rivers Family of Services I want to ask our community to consider opening their hearts and homes to children in foster care.

No matter who you are, there’s a child nearby who needs a supportive, loving foster home. My job is to help make sure that foster home keeps that child in their own community, their own school, near family, friends, and other supports. That’s the best way to make the healing process work. .

I live here. I work here. I’m committed to making this an even better place to be, and supporting our most vulnerable friends and neighbors is one of the best ways to do that. Being a foster parent is a big responsibility, but I’m here to help show you how and why it will be one of the best things you’ll ever do. There are a lot of ways that you can get involved with supporting youth and families in foster care, and our Northern Rivers Foster Care team is here to provide 24/7/365 support throughout your journey..

If you’ve ever thought about being a foster parent, why not give me a call or send me an email? I would be thrilled to introduce myself, listen to your questions, and share information on the foster care community—no pressure! Or check out some of the great, socially-distanced events we’re holding during Foster Care Awareness Month by visiting our website, www.northernrivers.org/foster-care.

Stephanie Klein, Albany County Home Finder, Northern Rivers Foster Care

Hat’s off to Poestenkill Highway Crew!

I would like to take a moment to publicly commend the work that Poestenkill Highway Superintendent Dave Goyer and members of his very professional highway crew did is restoring the grade of the verge of Liberty Lane after plowing during this past winter’s heavy snowfall resulted in a disruption of the contours, leaving what was an unsightly mess.

Working as a well-oiled team, the highway crew was there first thing in the morning and as they steadily worked their way along in a very efficient manner, the ugliness was removed and a more pleasing to the eye aspect restored, which is a credit to the Town of Poestenkill, the care Superintendent Goyer and his highway crew put into fulfilling their duties to the people of the Town of Poestenkill, as they are members of the same town who care for its well-being.

When we hear the term “unsung heroes,” that could well apply to these same people, who in addition to being out there during snow and ice storms plowing our roads to keep us all safe and secure, and being out there to restore flood damage, are also members of the fire department and/or EMT’s with the Poestenkill Rescue Squad.

When I hear people talking about what makes America great, these are the very people that I think about, the ones we never really see or notice, only through the work they do in keeping Poestenkill safe for we, the residents.

Paul Plante, Poestenkill

Wynantskill UFSD School Votes and Electric Buses

On Tuesday, May 18, residents across the Capital Region voted in their respective school budgets. Roughly 600 people voted in the Wynantskill Union Free School District the budget passed 360 to 183. A related vote was on the a proposition for 2 new school buses not to exceed $171,680. That proposition passed 402 to 146. Per the Gardner-Dickenson Gazette, the NYSED recommends districts replace buses every 5 – 10 years based on size. Older buses are less likely to pass safety inspections. As WUFSD and other districts replace their buses, we need to focus on electric buses. I understand the initial cost can be higher, but novel financing options should be explored. The Montgomery County public school district in Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C., is switching its bus fleet over to electric models at no additional cost. The local school board contracted with Highland Electric Transportation, which will purchase more than 300 electric school buses, help build and operate the charging infrastructure, and maintain the buses. In the arrangement, Highland Electric assumes most of the financial risk by owning and operating the electric buses and charging infrastructure. Most other school districts rely on federal and state grants to purchase electric buses and, even then, only do so in small batches. Electric vehicles are less affected by short times compared to combustion vehicles. Over time, the maintenance is lower on electric vehicles. Rather than purchase a new diesel bus, electric buses should be considered. We must explore other financing options than outright purchases because other school districts in the country are showing us what is possible.

Michael Myer, North Greenbush

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