Providing life saving medications: Caritas’ Prescription Assistance Program

Kimmie Bolton

Abby Petrulis with Jana Zaudka, MD

THANK YOU, Kimmie and Abby, for lending us your pharmacy expertise and streamlining the process for our medical providers. When we spend less time finding the right medication, we can spend more time with our patients!

—Jana Zaudka, MD; Medical Director

How many of you had the flu or some other awful illnes s, like strep or bronchitis, last winter? It can be so easy to take our health for granted, until we get sick. Most of us are able to get the right medication when we need it. But that ’s not the case for the patients at Caritas. Our patients r ely on our medical providers to help them access the right medication at the right time.

Caritas stocks a number of basic medications that w e order from the Kansas Unused Medication Repository. Last year, the Curry Family Foundation and the McGee Foundation pro vided funds for medications we can’t access through the repository. Another way we help our patients manage chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma is through our Prescription Assistance Program (PAP). PAP helps patients who are unable to afford monthly medications enroll in drug company prescription assistance programs.

Imagine being a medical provider, and before sending an electronic prescription to the patient ’s pharmacy, you must understand which companies have what drugs available in their PAP program. Then you must determine if your patient is eligible for that particular program since eligibility varies among diff erent companies. Lastly you want to avoid making the patient come back to complete the forms. Our providers strive to take care of as many needs as possible during the patient visit. So man y of our patients have transportation challenges or work at jobs that don’ t provide paid time off to see a doctor.

Recently two senior University of Kansas Pharmacy students—Kimmie Bolton and Abby Petrulis— developed a new medication list for our providers to use in the clinics. No w providers can search by disease or illness and can immediately identify the right pharmaceutical company, any specific eligibility requirements, and have patients fill out the forms while they are being seen. This particular project has had an impact on our pro viders’ abilities to quickly access the medications their patients need.

In 2017, Caritas Clinics was able to pro vide PAP medications to 486 patients in the form of 1, 059 unique prescriptions with a value of $2,373,515. These lifesaving medications allow us to be the safety net for patients who would otherwise go without.

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