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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.

NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.

Title 33 : Human Services

Chapter 019 : Medical Assistance

Subchapter 005 : Prescription Drug Cost Containment

(Cite as: 33 V.S.A. § 1999)
  • § 1999. Consumer protection rules; prior authorization

    (a)(1) The Pharmacy Best Practices and Cost Control Program shall authorize pharmacy benefit coverage when a patient’s health care provider prescribes a prescription drug not on the preferred drug list, or a prescription drug that is not the list’s preferred choice, if any of the circumstances set forth in subdivision (2) or (3) of this subsection applies.

    (2)(A) The Program shall authorize coverage under the same terms as coverage for preferred choice drugs if the prescriber determines, after consultation with the pharmacist, or with the participating health benefit plan if required by the terms of the plan, that one or more of the following circumstances apply:

    (i) The preferred choice or choices have not been effective, or with reasonable certainty are not expected to be effective, in treating the patient’s condition.

    (ii) The preferred choice or choices cause or are reasonably expected to cause adverse or harmful reactions in the patient.

    (iii)(I) The patient is new to the Program and has been stabilized on a prescription drug that is not on the preferred drug list or is not one of the list’s preferred choices, or a current patient has been stabilized on a prescription drug that has been removed from preferred drug list or is no longer one of the list’s preferred choices, and it is clinically indicated that the patient should remain stabilized on the drug in order to avoid an adverse clinical impact or outcome.

    (II) The Drug Utilization Review Board and the Department of Vermont Health Access shall clinically evaluate newly introduced medications and therapeutic classes to determine their clinical appropriateness for continuation of coverage as set forth in subdivision (I) of this subdivision (iii).

    (B) The prescriber’s determination concerning whether the standards established in this subdivision (2) have been demonstrated shall be final if any documentation required at the direction of the Drug Utilization Review Board has been provided.

    (3) The Program shall authorize coverage if the patient agrees to pay any additional cost in excess of the benefits provided by the patient’s health benefit plan that is participating in the Program. The provisions of this subdivision (3) shall not apply to the extent that they may be inconsistent with any federal Medicaid laws and regulations. The provisions of this subdivision (3) shall not affect implementation by a participating health benefit plan of tiered copayments or other similar cost sharing systems.

    (b) The Program or any participating health benefit plan shall provide information on how prescribers, pharmacists, beneficiaries, and other interested parties can obtain a copy of the preferred drug list, whether any change has been made to the preferred drug list since it was last issued, and the process by which exceptions to the preferred list may be made.

    (c), (d) [Repealed.]

    (e)(1) The prior authorization process shall be designed to minimize administrative burdens on prescribers, pharmacists, and consumers. The provisions of this section shall apply to the Program’s prior authorization process.

    (2) The prior authorization process shall ensure real-time receipt of requests, by telephone, voicemail, facsimile, electronic transmission, or mail on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week.

    (3) The prior authorization process shall provide an in-person response to emergency requests by a prescriber with telephone answering queues that do not exceed 10 minutes.

    (4) Any request for authorization or approval of a drug that the prescriber indicates, including the clinical reasons for the request, is for an emergency or urgent condition shall be responded to in no more than four hours from the time the Program or participating health benefit plan receives the request.

    (5) In emergency circumstances, or if the response to a request for prior authorization is not provided within the time period established in subdivision (4) of this subsection, a 72-hour supply of the drug prescribed shall be deemed to be authorized by the Program or the participating health benefit plan, provided it is a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and provided, for drugs dispensed to a Medicaid beneficiary, it is subject to a rebate agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

    (6) The Program or participating plan shall provide to participating providers a prior authorization request form for each enrolled beneficiary, known to be a patient of the provider, designed to permit the prescriber to make prior authorization requests in advance of the need to fill the prescription, and designed to be completed without unnecessary delay. The form shall be capable of being stamped with information relating to the participating provider, and if feasible at least one form capable of being copied shall contain known patient information.

    (f) The Program’s prior authorization process shall require that the prescriber, not the pharmacy, request a prior authorization exemption to the requirements of this section. No later than December 31, 2004, the Commissioner shall create a pilot program designed to exempt a prescriber from the prior authorization requirement of the preferred drug list program if the Program determines that the prescriber has met compliance standards established by the Department in consultation with the Drug Utilization Review Board. This exemption does not apply to drugs that require prior authorization for clinical reasons. (Added 2001, No. 127 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. June 13, 2002; amended 2003, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 128k; 2005, No. 71, §§ 309, 310; 2011, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 41c; 2013, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 46, eff. May 20, 2014; 2019, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § E.307, eff. Oct. 2, 2020.)