Grant Boosts Prescription Assistance Program
A local program that helps provide prescription drugs for low-income residents has received a significant donation.
The North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund (HWTF) awarded $60,000 to the FirstHealth Cares program, which serves residents of Moore and Montgomery counties.
It assists residents who lack prescription drug coverage (including Medicaid or Medicare) and meets financial qualifications, according to Roxanne Leopper of First-Health Community Health Services.
The program helps secure medication from pharmaceutical manufactures for chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.
"The program is preven-tative, so patients can find medication that will help," Leopper said. "If not, these patients can have serious health problems and end up with other costs such as an in-patient stay at the hospital."
The FirstHealth Cares program served 913 patients and requested 6,414 medications from June 1, 2008, to May 30, according to Leopper.
"Out of those 6,414 medications, we received 4,812," she said. "According to the average wholesale price from the pharmaceutical companies, we ended up saving $2.4 million, so that was amazing."
With the struggling economy, the program has seen an increase in uninsured patients who need assistance.
"We are very lucky to be able to receive funds to serve more individuals," Leopper said. "These funds allow us to have more staff to help with the program."
Statewide, the HWTF has contributed more than $2.7 million in grant funding to 46 organizations over two years for the continuation of its Medication Assistance Program (MAP), which assists low-income residents in identifying optimal prescription drug coverage as well as assisting in obtaining medication.
"I am very proud of MAP, which has worked with pharmaceutical companies to help more than 64,000 patients navigate the health-care system and receive more than $209 million in free medication," Gov. Bev Perdue, a former chairwoman of HWTF, said in a press release.
The NC HWTF was created by the General Assembly in 2000 to allocate a portion of North Carolina's share of the national tobacco settlement. It has invested $199 million to support preventive health initiatives and $102 million to fund prescription drug assistance programs.
Contact Jonathan Summey at 693-2479.
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