Health program cuts healed Programs for dialysis, pharmacy assistance


Reversing an earlier decision on one of the most controversial cuts to Maryland's deficit-threatened budget, Gov. William Donald Schaefer said today that he will restore about $6 million for continued payments for the state's kidney dialysis and pharmacy assistance programs.

The governor's decision last month to cut state payments on dialysis treatment, a health service offered to nearly 4,200 Marylanders stricken with kidney disease, prompted emotional outcries across the state.

At the time the cuts were announced, health officials said patients could find other ways to pay for treatment, particularly through private insurance or Medicaid, a health program for low-income earners.

But today, Nelson J. Sabatini, deputy state health secretary for finance and regulations, said enough money can be secured from the federal government so that the state can continue the 19-year-old program at least until spring.

Sabatini said a change in federal regulations will free funding for the state's dialysis programs. The governor, Sabatini said, will propose emergency legislation early in the 1991 General Assembly session to restructure the way the state pays for the services.

"We want to fix these programs and make them more rational and somewhat more flexible," Sabatini said today.

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