Tuesday, April 08, 2008

New partnership means better access to better meds for the working poor in Dallas

Last Wednesday, Central Dallas Ministries (CDM) and CommuniCare, a non-profit organization in South Carolina, unveiled an exciting new partnership that will bring new prescription medicine benefits to thousands of low-income patients.

All of the major pharmaceutical companies in the United States have "indigent patient" medication programs that offer free medicines to low-income patients who qualify. The challenge with these programs has been with the procurement process. Until now, the process involved a physician or other medical staff being required to complete a rather long and tedious application every time a medication was prescribed. The time and administrative paper work requirement made the programs difficult to use, especially for clinics like ours that serve thousands of patients with a limited staff and few volunteers.

CommuniCare, under the leadership of Ken Trogdon, has worked hard over the past several years to develop a relationship with all of the major pharm corporations and a new process of accessing the indigent drug program. Thanks to CommuniCare, now our patients will need to qualify for such programs by means of one annual application and a $20 registration fee. One form and one fee for any and all prescriptions from any of the companies with the programs--huge improvement!

The outcomes for CDM and our patients are exciting. State of the art medications will now be available to patients at no cost beyond the registration fee, a fee we pay when patients cannot. We will achieve significant cost savings that will allow us to purchase more medications that are affordable and treat more patients in our clinic.

Beyond the benefit to CDM, as the new process is perfected here, we hope to "roll it out" across the Dallas area among our indigent health clinic partners.

This new development promises to have major positive consequences for the uninsured working poor men, women and children who come to us for care, as well as for our other partners who face similar challenges.

We are grateful to our partners at CommuniCare who are moving outside the state of South Carolina for the first time in this new initiative. As Ken says, "If we can make this work in Texas, we can make it work anywhere in the nation."

Thanks also to Dr. Jim Walton, Vice-President of Health Equity for the Baylor Health Care System and CDM Board member, for his tireless efforts in seeing this new partnership become a reality.

To view a WFAA Channel 8 television news report on our press conference announcing the new partnership just click on this link:



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