NewsCovering Kern County


UPDATE: Closure of Kern Medical outpatient pharmacies delayed

Kern Medical Graphic with Logo (FILE)
Posted at 6:36 PM, Feb 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 16:00:30-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — (UPDATE 2/23): Kern Medical announced the closure of its two outpatient pharmacies has been delayed due to the state's delay in pharmacy reimbursements.

According to Kern Medical, the closure of the two pharmacies was due to changes in the State’s reimbursements for Medi-Cal pharmacy prescriptions that provided funding to supplement pharmacy operations.

Last Wednesday, the state announced that it was delaying the planned “Go Live” of its pharmacy reimbursement changes. The state indicated the delay was necessary to give it time to evaluate the unexpected purchase of its pharmacy vendor by Centene Corporation.

Kern Medical said the state anticipates providing further information to providers in May.

With the state delaying the changes to pharmacy reimbursements, Kern Medical said it will continue to operate both outpatient retail pharmacies until it receives further information and determines how to best proceed.

Kern Medical announced its two outpatient pharmacies will be closing on March 31.

In a statement, hospital officials said the closure is due to the state of California recently issued Executive Order N-01-19 that drastically reduces the Medi-Cal reimbursement for drugs at discounted prices and shifts the benefit their pharmacies would receive back to the state.

"Our pharmacies needed the 340B drug pricing program as structured before this Executive Order to maintain our retail pharmacy services. The implications of this Executive Order’s impact are far reaching as reimbursement for prescriptions will be limited to a drug’s acquisition cost plus a small dispensing fee."

They said this change makes it nearly impossible to continue operating both pharmacies.

The executive order goes into effect and reimbursements end March 31. At that time, both pharmacies will close.

Kern Medical currently employs 28 staff members who work in these two outpatient pharmacies.