Health Care Heroes: Prescription-Ease|
July 13, 2012
The medical professionals at Mount Carmel Health System understand the problems that occur when patients don’t take their prescription medications.
Patients going without medicine might relapse, aggravate their conditions or put their lives at risk. Doctors and nurses also recognize that sometimes patients can’t afford their medications.
That’s why they are grateful to the Mount Carmel Foundation for establishing PrescriptionEase, a service that helps people who don’t have insurance find ways to get their prescriptions filled.
The program helps patients complete the paperwork necessary to apply for free medicine from pharmaceutical assistance programs, said PrescriptionEase coordinator Alicia Tomblin.
Many of the major drug manufacturers offer their products free to uninsured patients who meet financial guidelines, Tomblin said.
The paperwork associated with applying for the medicine is cumbersome, she said.
“It’s just overwhelming to have all these forms,” she said.
For a $5 processing fee, workers will handle the paperwork, which has to be sent in annually. The majority of the applications submitted by PrescriptionEase are approved, Tomblin said.
Drug companies make more than 45 different drugs available for free, she said. PrescriptionEase works with a database that ensures workers are aware of any changes that could affect eligibility.
Currently, 425 people are receiving medicine through the program.
The program is a great asset to patients, a representative of Capitol City Cardiology wrote in a note to PrescriptionEase.
“This program is a must for our practice,” the licensed practical nurse wrote.
The recession has created more demand for free medication, Tomblin said.
“People are losing their jobs. They’re not eligible for Medicaid because of state budget cuts,” she said. “People are stuck.”
Giving people access to necessary medication also can decrease the demand on the medical system, Tomblin said. The medicines help them manage their diseases.
The hospital system organized a study that found a correlation between involvement in the PrescriptionEase program and a reduction in hospital visits and stays and trips to the emergency room.
The success of the program has attracted interest from other medical centers in Ohio and around the nation. PrescriptionEase has assisted officials from OhioHealth, Fairfield Medical Center and Akron General Hospital when they set out to develop similar programs.