Program to help uninsured get medication

Published 9:59 pm Monday, April 2, 2018

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

The Rural Health Medical Program unveiled its new involvement with a federal pharmaceutical drug program to help uninsured clients at its J.L. Chestnut Jr. Boulevard facility during a ribbon cutting Monday morning.

Its involvement comes with national and local partnerships with pharmacies. This includes CaptureRx, a San Antonio-based pharmaceutical company that specializes in the federal program known as 340B. This program is federally monitored by the Office of Pharmaceutical Affairs and could benefit uninsured individuals in need of medicine with discounts for “high-cost” drugs as much as 60, 70 or 80 percent.

According to Ken Denton, 340B program manager, the program is set up to benefit those who do not have enough money for insurance, but have a need for medicine.

Under 340B, pharmacies are federally required to work with underserved hospitals and clinics in providing them discounted drugs for qualified clients, or else they are not allowed to participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Uninsured individuals who qualify for 340B benefits will be given a medical card that can be used for all of their needs related to the program.

For Denton and the company he represents, they care about aiding rural areas that have clear and present health needs.

“It is beneficial in two ways. The first way is it helps health centers offer new programs to their clients. Also, it provides low-cost medicine to patients with no insurance. It’s a win-win,” Denton said.

“Sometimes for the uninsured, they have to decide between getting their groceries or their medicine.”

This deep discount may be to benefit the uninsured, but this does not inversely affect insured clients. According to Denton and local members of pharmacies partnering with this program, the insured clients would still be covered as normal. Furthermore, the program is not taxpayer-reliant. Neither the insured or uninsured have to fund it.

The 340B program will be extended to all clinics operating under the Rural Health Medical Program.

To those in the Dallas County area, this program brings much-appreciated aid to an underserved community.

“Where they are struggling to pay for their medical visits, now they have a solution because they can come to us and we don’t turn them away from medical services, nor will they be turned away from getting their medication,” said Keshee Smith, CEO of the Rural Health Medical Program.

Pharmacies in Dallas County and surrounding areas include Winn-Dixie, Wal-Mart, Fred’s Pharmacy and College City Drugs.

According to Denton, 80 percent of rural hospitals rely on assistance from the 340B program to keep their doors open.

With rural areas in Alabama in need of viable health options, those associated with Rural Health Medical Program are excited to have the program expanded to them as well.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, those integral in the process of getting 340B expanded to Dallas County cut the ribbon, marking a new beginning.