State Report: Delaware

August 1, 2009

Commonwealth Fund State Performance Ranking (2007): 14

TWO PHARMACY TRADE associations representing Walgreens filed a lawsuit in June against Delaware to put a stop to Medicaid rate cuts there, according to The News Journal in Wilmington.

Gov. Markell said that the suit will not intimidate his administration into paying Walgreens higher reimbursement rates. "If these are negotiating tactics, they are not good ones," he said. "We are always open to conversation, but we will not be bullied, especially when we are asking so many individuals and organizations in Delaware to share in the sacrifices necessary to close an $800 million budget gap."

Walgreens' decision has caused backlash in Delaware. One senator introduced legislation that would increase taxes on pharmacies that do not participate in Medicaid and a state representative called for the state to terminate a contract that allows state employees to have their prescriptions filled at Happy Harry's.

REDUCE HIV TRANSMISSION

In order to reduce the rate of mother-to-child HIV transmission, the Delaware State Senate passed a bill that would add HIV testing to the standard battery of tests given to all pregnant women. Women would be able to choose to "opt out" of taking the test, says http://WMTD.com/.

AETNA SHIFTS TO TELEWORK

In an effort to cut costs, Aetna U.S. Healthcare intends to close its Dover center when its lease expires at the end of the year and have most of its 169 staffers work from home, according to The News Journal in Wilmington.

Aetna opened the center in 1997 at the Blue Hen Mall/Corporate Center, where workers specialize in processing large, multi-state employee plans. Most workers are customer-service call-takers.

Employees will be gradually shifted to teleworking so that customer-service glitches can be avoided. Workers who don't want to set up shop at home will be offered transfer to another facility.

MHE Sources: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Urban Institute; Kaiser Family Foundation; U.S. Census Bureau; The Commonwealth Fund; National Center for Health Statistics; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.