Helping patients to afford prescription medications

“A patient was diagnosed with breast cancer and was unable to keep working and not able to afford her medications. We used the grant to pay for her medications and helped her get the care she needed.”

The rising cost of pharmaceuticals has been in the headlines a lot lately. At CHAS Health, we see firsthand the impact when patients have difficulty affording medication. Financial barriers can result in either not purchasing a medication, or a patient will ration their medication (ie, not take the full dose so that the medication lasts longer).

To help our patients to access necessary medications, we have developed several prescription assistance programs.

Thanks to funding from the Idaho Community Foundation, in 2013 CHAS Latah Community Health in Moscow, Idaho, started a prescription assistance program.

And, thanks to funding from the Lewis-Clark Valley Healthcare Foundation, at the beginning of 2019 CHAS Lewis & Clark Health Center in Lewiston, Idaho, started a prescription assistance program.

Monetary donations from local churches and individuals, as well as ongoing grant funding, sustain these vital programs.

This year, the average cost of each prescription purchased through these assistance programs has been $15. That may not sound like a lot of money, but consider that patients using this program are prescribed, on average, four prescriptions. That’s $60 ($15/prescription) every time a patient needs to re-fill their prescriptions.

CHAS Health staff help patients to apply for pharmaceutical company prescription assistance programs when available, and help patients to enroll in health insurance coverage. Even with pharmaceutical company-backed assistance programs, patients generally have to wait for enrollment to begin.

Providing prescription assistance to patients in our clinics provides immediate relief for individuals struggling to juggle physical and financial health. For patients with diabetes and other chronic conditions, a consistent medication regime is critical to enable an individual to feel well, maintain a regular work schedule, and to be able to participate in everyday life.

This blog post part of a special CHAS Health series for #GivingTuesday 2019. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide. During the Thanksgiving season, it is easy to get swept up in the fervor of shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, will kick off the giving season and inspire people to collaborate and give back. Follow CHAS Health on Facebook and Twitter to learn more.

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