Published in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel January 29, 2005
Budget-cutting can be way to set program right
I almost hate to admit this. But maybe, just maybe, Gov. Jeb Bush might be on to something with his push to revamp Florida's Medicaid program.
...I do think Bush can wean Florida's foster kids off of dangerous psychotropics and take a whack out of a $34 million drug expenditure in the process.
Psychotropic drugs are powerful medications that include a wide range of anti-depressants. These pills aren't Tic-Tacs; there are potentially life-threatening side effects, and the need for responsible medical supervision in prescribing these drugs is crucial.
Of the 5,641 children taking behavioral drugs, 22 percent are at risk of something the department calls "quality questions." That can be best translated as "overmedicated," by either the dosage or the variety of drugs.
...what replaces the pills for those troubled youngsters? Therapy is one less-expensive alternative, and Medicaid will help pick up the tab.
That may be asking a lot, though. In a bid between "Big Pharma" and a bunch of behavioral therapists and social workers, it's easy to see who holds the clout in the Capitol and has the ear of the governor.