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White Bagging in Missouri: What You Need To Know

Insurance companies are placing profits before patients suffering from cancer, Crohn’s disease and debilitating arthritis.

Many Missourians who are fighting these diseases need drugs that are delivered by IV. These aren’t the convenient pharmacy-by-mail types of medications that so many people benefit from. They require special handling and must be administered to the patient in a clinic or hospital. To reduce their costs and increase their profits, insurers have turned to a system called “white bagging.”

Learn how one hospital pharmacist is fighting white bagging to protect her patients.

Hospitals and clinics have pharmacies that can provide these medications. When an insurer refuses to pay unless the hospital uses the white bagging system, a lot can go wrong. For example, a shipment might not arrive in time for the patient’s infusion or it may be mishandled or sent in the wrong amount. These are complex drugs that can be sensitive to temperature or to the patient’s condition at the infusion appointment.

When the system doesn’t work, patients often experience delays in their care. When that happens, the patient can end up in a struggle with the insurer to get the care they need. Worse yet, for these conditions, the delay or missed care can make life very hard, while endangering their overall health.

Hospitals want to do the right thing for these patients. White bagging — an insurer, profit-driven system — stands in the way.

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