Medication Assistance Program
The cost of medications can be very expensive and unaffordable to some patients. Pharmaceutical companies offer discounted rates for those who qualify, but the application paperwork can be overwhelming. UW Hospital and Clinics understands the stress these costs can put on a patient, so it created the Medication Assistance Program. The program helps patients obtain their prescriptions free or at a greatly reduced cost.
Lacey Dean, UW Hospital and Clinics pharmacy assistant and one of the two full-time employees dedicated to the program, said that the majority of patients served through the Medication Assistance Program are either elderly and did not enroll in Medicare Part D, students who just went off their parents' insurance, or foreign patients.
Dean explains, "Often these people don't have coverage because they didn't understand other paperwork in the first place. We are familiar with the process to apply for prescription discounts, and we can make it much easier for them."
Dean recalls assisting a family whose child had been a patient at the American Family Children's Hospital. Their son suffers from a chronic illness and his medications cost $10,000 every month. With both parents working, they make too much money to qualify for medical assistance, yet it would have been impossible for them to afford these necessary drugs on their own.
Dean worked with the parents to complete the forms and was able to get the medication costs completely covered. "The family felt as though a giant weight had been lifted off their shoulders. They are able to concentrate on their son's health condition and not worry about those bills."
The Medication Assistance Program relies on the cooperation of the pharmaceutical companies and other health organizations. When a patient is referred to UW Hospital and Clinics for a specialty service and their primary physician is at a different clinic, the two organizations must communicate and work together to coordinate the patients' applications.
Since its inception five years ago, the program has served more than 3,000 patients and last year brought in $1.7 million in free pharmaceuticals for patients.