Senate approves O’Brien’s ‘Med Sync’ bill

Senator Margaret O'Brien

Senator Margaret O’Brien

Allows patients to fill prescriptions at once;
relieves pharmacists of higher costs

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation that would allow patients who are prescribed multiple medications to get their prescriptions filled at the same time through medication synchronization was approved on Thursday, said state Senator Margaret O’Brien.

Senate Bill 150 would also provide relief for pharmacists who may have difficulty getting reimbursed by insurance companies for only filling those partial prescriptions during a patient’s synchronization process.

“Med Sync is a no-brainer,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “By enacting my bill, Michigan can help people who are prescribed multiple medications to more easily stay on schedule, which will help them live healthier lives. By pro-rating insurance provider copays, we can ensure both patients and pharmacists are getting a better deal.”

Medication synchronization, or medsync, would empower pharmacists to write “short fill” or “long fill” prescriptions so they all come due on a single date. While this practice is more convenient for patients and ensures they don’t miss critical doses of their medication, it creates a potential problem for pharmacists because health insurance companies typically do not reimburse them for partial prescriptions.

O’Brien’s bill would address this issue by requiring health insurance providers to prorate their copay amounts for patients who are only partially filling a prescription for synching.

Clearing this health-provider-health-insurance hurdle would improve the pharmacist-patient partnership and cut down on the number of trips patients are forced to make to the drug store. It would also help them better stay on their prescriptions, would improve medication adherence and might reduce emergency room visits and other avoidable health care costs.

“The easier it is for patients to get the medication that they need, the more likely they are to take them and stay on them,” said O’Brien. “Doing so promotes better health, reduces costly medical procedures and saves everyone money.”

SB 150 now advances to the state House of Representatives for consideration.

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O’Brien supports bill calling for federal balanced budget

Senator Margaret O'Brien

Senator Margaret O’Brien

LANSING, Mich. Senator Margaret O’Brien voted Thursday to approve legislation that would officially petition Congress to call a constitutional convention for a federal balanced budget amendment (BBA).

“Leadership and fiscal responsibility starts with a balanced budget,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “Michigan’s Constitution requires an annual balanced budget, and it is time we demand the same out of Washington D.C.”

Senate Bill 306 enters Michigan into an interstate compact to petition Congress to take the necessary steps toward passing a BBA to the U.S. Constitution. Once 38 states — three-fourths of the state legislatures — join the compact, they will then petition Congress to refer the BBA vote to the states for ratification by a three-fourths vote under Article V of the U.S. Constitution.

The national debt is currently $18.2 trillion. By 2019, the federal debt is estimated to surpass $21 trillion.

SB 306 now heads to the Michigan House of Representatives for consideration.

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O’Brien: AT&T, United Way collaboration great for Kalamazoo County

Senator Margaret O'Brien

Senator Margaret O’Brien

LANSING, Mich. — State Senator Margaret O’Brien on Tuesday applauded AT&T Michigan and the United Way of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region for the organizations’ continued support of programs to improve the education, health and economic well-being of the region’s residents.

The company donated $15,000 to the United Way at an event in Kalamazoo that O’Brien attended.

“AT&T’s generous donation to the United Way will go a long way toward achieving our shared goal of improving our community,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “The United Way provides a great service for our residents who are in need, and I appreciate that AT&T has teamed with them in that effort.”

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