The Tennessee Legislature will be in recess until June 1st. As lawmaker hurried to pass key legislation amid growing concern around COVID-19, they continue to think about 39,360 Tennesseans who will hear the words “you have cancer” this year.
ACS CAN participates in Step Therapy Action Day
On Tuesday, February 4th coalition partners and advocates from across the state joined forces for the Tennesseans for Affordable Access to Medicine Day of Action. The goal was to ask Tennessee state lawmakers to reform step therapy protocols.
Step therapy, often called “fail first,” is a process that requires patients to try and fail on one or more medications chosen by their insurer before they can access the optimal treatment recommended and prescribed by their healthcare provider.
Health plans’ exemption criteria and appeal procedures are not transparent, and it can take patients and their healthcare providers weeks or months to navigate an appeal, leading to setbacks and threatening the patient’s health and well-being.
For patients living with serious or chronic illnesses, step therapy may prolong ineffective treatments and delay access to the right treatment, resulting in increased disease activity, loss of function and progression of their condition.
The day was a success and several lawmakers have agreed to co-sponsor legislation brought by Reps. Mark Hall, Esther Helton, and Robin Smith in the House and Sen. Art Swann in the Senate. We will continue to education lawmakers on the importance of patients accessing the treatment their doctor prescribes in a timely manner.