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January 2024 Preferred Drug List Now Available

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The January 2024 Medicaid Preferred Drug List (PDL) is now available. This update features changes that were approved at the July and October 2023 Drug Utilization Review Board meetings. The PDL also includes formulary and prior authorization information, notations for drugs requiring clinical prior authorization, the review schedule, and appendices for cough and cold products, iron oral agents, and prenatal vitamin products.

Preferred Drug Reminders

Providers should be aware of the following information regarding Medicaid preferred drugs:

  • Prescribing providers must use the Medicaid formulary and the PDL. Providers who prescribe medications for people enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) must use the CHIP formulary. CHIP does not have a PDL.
  • The PDL does not include all the drugs on the Texas Medicaid formulary.
  • Drugs on the Texas Medicaid formulary are designated as preferred, non-preferred, or having neither designation. The PDL includes only drugs identified as either preferred or non-preferred.
  • Drugs that are not on the preferred list, or drugs that are identified as preferred, are available without prior authorization.
  • Drugs on the PDL that are identified as non-preferred will require non-preferred prior authorization.
  • Some preferred and non-preferred drugs may require clinical prior authorization.
  • Non-preferred drugs requiring clinical prior authorization still require non-preferred prior authorization as well.
  • If prior authorization is required for a drug, then prescribing providers must obtain it. Pharmacy staff may not request prior authorizations.

The PDL Criteria Guide outlines the standards used to evaluate non-preferred prior authorization requests. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has updated the guide to reflect recent changes.

Obtaining Medicaid Outpatient Drug Prior Authorization

Prescribing providers must obtain prior authorization for outpatient drugs based on the Medicaid program a client is enrolled in.

For clients enrolled in a Medicaid managed care organization (MCO), prescribing providers or their representatives should contact the prior authorization call center that is unique to the client’s MCO. Prior authorization call center phone numbers vary by MCO. For a list of the various call centers and contact details, consult the MCO Resource Information document.

For clients in traditional Medicaid, prescribing providers or their representatives should call the Texas Prior Authorization Call Center at 877-PA-TEXAS (877-728-3927).

Online Drug Reference Information

The following information is available online:

  • The Medicaid and CHIP formulary and Medicaid PDL are featured on the Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) website. Formulary information is also available for all state programs administered by HHSC.
  • Epocrates is a free subscription drug information service that you can download to your computer or handheld device. In addition to listing a drug’s preferred status, Epocrates includes drug monographs, dosing information, and warnings. All prescribing providers are eligible to register for Epocrates online. Refer to section 8.1, “Formulary Search,” of the Outpatient Drug Services Handbook in the Texas Medicaid Provider Procedures Manual to learn more.
  • Prescribers may use their e-prescribing software to view the Medicaid and CHIP formularies or to find preferred drugs and alternatives to non-preferred medications.

72-Hour Emergency Supply

The prescribing provider is responsible for obtaining prior authorization. The pharmacy staff alerts the prescribing provider to obtain prior authorization if approval had not been obtained when the prescription was presented to the pharmacy. If medication is needed without delay, pharmacy staff can provide a 72-hour emergency supply of the medication while the prescribing provider obtains the authorization. Dispensing an emergency supply offers the client an immediate dose of the medicine but requires a return trip to the pharmacy for the entire prescription or alternate therapy. Refer to section 12.5 of the Outpatient Drug Services Handbook in the Texas Medicaid Provider Procedure Manual to learn more.

Pharmacy Prior Authorization Quick Course

Need a quick refresher on the Medicaid pharmacy benefit, including prior authorization? Take this short course, available on the Texas HHS website: A Prescriber’s Guide to Texas Medicaid Outpatient Pharmacy Prior Authorization.

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