As a patient advocate at Strawberry Mansion and Health Center 10, I work with many patients who are uninsured/underinsured. For many patients, this means the prescriptions they need to stay in good health are too expensive. In the Prescription Assistance office at the health center, we are able to help patients apply for programs through the pharmaceutical company to receive medication at low or no cost. All of the companies make different medications and require different information in order to complete the assistance applications. Thankfully, we have a list of companies we frequently work with and what information they require.
However, a couple of weeks ago I had a patient and their family come in with a new medication. This medication was through a company I had never heard of, and it did not appear on our list. Usually our process doesn’t take long to find the application, explain it to the patient and fill out the necessary information. Since I did not have any information about this company, I had the patient fill out the application and told them I would call the company and then get back to them. Unfortunately, this meant they left our office without knowing if they would be able to get the medication.
After this I made a few calls trying to track down the patient assistance program for the company so I could determine what kind of information needed to be sent in with the application. After speaking to the company, I thought the patient wasn’t eligible, so I reached out to the doctor to see if there was another medication that could be given instead. Unfortunately, there wasn’t and I called to let the patient’s family know. It turns out that some of the information we had on file was incorrect and the patient was now eligible! I went ahead with the application and got a fax roughly a week later informing us the patient was approved. I felt really happy that all the work I put in to the process paid off and the patient was able to get their needed prescription at no cost.
I called the patient’s family to give them the good news that they were approved, and they were very happy. They stressed how important it was that they got the medicine and how thankful they were for my help. Being able to give the patient the help they needed and seeing the positive impact it had really highlighted how important my role is as a patient advocate and made the experience even more worthwhile.
[In text image description: 3 different prescription assistance application forms for Lilly, Merck, and GSK.]
Image Description: A picture of the front of Strawberry Mansion Health Center.