As summer officially gets underway, we are sorry to have to inform you of a critical, time-sensitive concern related to proposed changes to our prescription drug access.

We have learned that, as of July 1, 2019 (less than two weeks from now), WMU has mandated that some prescription drugs accessed through Sindecuse are to be limited to 30-day quantities. The explanation is that Sindecuse Pharmacy (and other pharmacies as well) has been losing money as a result of Blue Cross’s practice of under-reimbursing pharmacies for the ongoing, month-to-month prescriptions that many of us rely upon.

Even the incomplete list of impacted medications we’ve seen demonstrates the disturbing breadth of impact this will have: for example, asthma medications (Advair, Pulmicort, Combivent), depression (Viibryd, Latuda), blood thinners (Eliquis, Entresto, Xarelto), and several ophthalmic and GI/Bladder prescriptions.

The problem, as you may know, is that WMU’s proposed actions seem to be in direct violation of Article 33.5.1 of the WMU-AAUP Agreement which states that: Prescription drugs will be available at the Sindecuse Health Center pharmacy with specified co-pay levels (e.g., $10, $20, etc.). It further states that “A ninety (90) day supply of maintainable drugs will be available for a 2.25x copay…”

In short, the Sindecuse prescription benefit is one for which the WMU-AAUP successfully negotiated – it is built into our contract – and cannot simply be unilaterally voided or reduced by WMU Administration. We are, then, in the planning stages of a grievance against WMU. Further, we hope that WMU will negotiate with Blue Cross about its poor reimbursement policies rather than simply passing the additional, unexpected cost and inconvenience on to WMU employees. (Update: The WMU AAUP has filed a grievance against WMU).

What can you do? First, ask questions. Have your supervisors been informed that this policy is to take effect in less than two short weeks? How do they see this step by WMU as being consistent with the Contract (Article 33.5.1)? Second, talk to colleagues. How many are aware of this proposed change? And, finally, contact us if you’re comfortable doing so to let us know how this policy change will impact you and your family’s lives. Hearing directly from you helps WMU-AAUP leadership better respond to such incursions into our health care coverage.

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