Florida health officials are changing the state's policy for administering costly hepatitis C drugs to Medicaid patients and will now require insurance companies to provide the drug at an earlier stage in the disease.
Three organizations sent the state a letter in April warning that policies under Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration were violating patient rights under the Medicaid Act. Previously, lawyers say hepatitis C patients were only given the medication when they were at a so-called fibrosis level three or four. Patients often require a liver transplant at stage four. The fibrosis level is no longer a requirement under the amended criteria.
The change went into effect Wednesday. Florida health officials told The Associated Press they changed the policy because they felt it was the appropriate course of action and not because of a particular case.