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AMG Provides Free Prescription Medications to Patients in Need

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Medication Assistance PosterSince March, Augusta Medical Group, a network of employed physicians, advanced practice providers and caregivers, has provided 282 uninsured and under-insured residents of Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County with free prescription medications through a new Medication Assistance Program (MAP). More than 835 prescription medications with a wholesale value of $930,697 have been processed during the first three months of the program.

The Medication Assistance Program is made possible by a grant from the Virginia Health Care Foundation to the Augusta Health Foundation.

The grant provides two Medication Assistance Caseworkers (MACs) and covers the licensing fees for The Pharmacy Connection (TPC), a web-based software program. Patients are referred to the program by physicians throughout the Staunton, Augusta County or Waynesboro area. Patients may self-refer by calling the Medication Assistance Program in the Medical Home Clinic in Fishersville at (540) 213-2615, but must have a prescription from a provider.

After a patient is referred, a caseworker confirms eligibility and processes the financial assistance paperwork with the pharmaceutical vendors. The drugs covered through the program are trade 'brand name' drugs because generic drugs would require a co-pay, and the purpose of the program is to provide the drugs free-of-charge to uninsured and under-insured patients. Once the prescription order is placed, the medications are delivered back to the Medication Assistance Program office. Caseworkers work with the patient on the delivery of the medication and provide medication education. The entire process can take 4 to 6 weeks. For medications needed immediately, the caseworkers work with physicians, pharmacies and vendors to provide "bridge" medications so the patient does not miss a required dose.

"I always tell my patients that the best medicine is the one you are able to take. That's what makes our Medication Assistance Program is so important to my patients. I've been able to obtain $172,778 worth of medications for 48 of my patients. These medications have allowed them to have better control of their diabetes, COPD and heart disease, and without this program, they would not have had access to this comprehensive range of medications."

Tiffany Greenberg, FNP-C – Fishersville Family Practice

Patient David Harvey with Tony Kincaid, a Medication Assistance Case Worker
David Harvey, patient, with Tony Kincaid, Medication Assistance Case Worker

"This has meant the world to me. I had no money for medicines, so this has been great. The most daunting part of this has been the paperwork, and they take care of that, too."

David Harvey, a patient from Stuarts Draft

The Medication Assistance Program recently expanded to include prescription eyewear.

The Medical Assistance Program aligns with three Augusta Health Strategic Plan objectives

  1. To continue to measure and advance high quality clinical care that is patient-centered and cost effective;
  2. Through clinical programs and engagement with the local community, improve our community's health in measureable ways;
  3. Secure affiliations and partnerships that strengthen Augusta Health and its community of physicians. The program is also consistent with and supports the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's Triple Aim-to improve patient experience, to improve the health of the population and to reduce the per capita cost of health care.

"The Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF) has provided funding for 22 programs across the Commonwealth. We are most grateful for the grant from VHCF to the Augusta Health Foundation to make this program possible for residents in our area."

Tami Radecke, Executive Director of the Augusta Health Foundation

About Augusta Health Foundation and Augusta Health

Augusta Health Foundation's mission is to inspire community ownership through charitable giving to advance health and wellness in our region. The Foundation is the charitable arm of Augusta Health and supports essential patient care programs and services at Augusta Health, including Augusta Health Hospice of the Shenandoah. For more information about Augusta Health Foundation, please visit the website, https://www.augustahealth.com/foundation.

Augusta Health is an independent, community-owned, not-for-profit hospital whose mission is to promote the health and well-being of its community through access to excellent care. Named one of the 100 Top Hospitals in America by Thomson Reuters/Truven in both 2011 and 2012, Augusta Health has also been nationally recognized by HealthGrades as one of America's 50 Best Hospitals for clinical excellence and patient safety for two consecutive years. For more information about Augusta Health, its programs or its services, please visit the website, https://www.augustahealth.com.