To Santa, Love the PAPs by Megan Probst

Dear Santa:

Your Prescription Assistance Program (PAP) minions have been hard at work these many months, diligently pursuing free and/or reduced-cost medications for our lovely patrons. We’ve had our fair share of triumphs and tribulations, joy and just downright struggles, but alas we have made it to the pinnacle of our year: the Holiday Season. With the winter festivities fast approaching, I have been tasked with the wondrous work of writing you a letter; on behalf of the PAPs, outlining our hopes and dreams for Christmas/Chanukah/Christmakuh/Kwanzaa/all other winter holidays. If you could find it in your heart, Santa, please consider gifting us with the following:

1. First, ballpoint pens! I keep losing mine, and until the day comes when they all magically arrive on my desk, I will be scrounging for writing utensils.

2. Post-its - These are essential for keeping my office (mostly) organized. All of my patient files are covered in post-its, big and small, with updated patient info. All sizes are welcome.

3. The ability to speak Albanian. My health center accommodates mostly English, Spanish and Albanian-speaking patients. I have the English and Spanish down pat, but I’d really like to stop bothering the Albanian interpreter every time I have an Albanian-speaking patient. If you’re all out of overnight-foreign-language skills, a subscription to Rosetta Stone will also suffice.

4. Easier access to medications--or, at least, a more comprehensive storage of samples. Many of my patients suffer from chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and HIV. Patients are in desperate need of their medication, and because PAP takes 2-4 weeks to receive medications after sending in the application, patients often go days or weeks without it. If you could help shorten that gap even a little bit, it would benefit our patients tremendously.

5. Health and good fortune for our patients whose family and friends were affected by the hurricanes. I have had many patients speak with me about the horrors that those in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands are facing after the destruction caused by the storms this past summer. The fight isn’t over for them. Please help them rebuild their lives this holiday season.

6. And finally Santa, if you could spare the hands, please send your best elves to all of the health centers to help with the Patient Satisfaction Surveys for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. We really want to finish them by the end of 2017, but with all of our other PAP duties, we’re a dash swamped. If you could send the elves to finish our last patient surveys, we’d be eternally grateful.

Wishing you good tidings and cheer!
Megan Probst, PAP at Health Center 6 (North Philly)

P.S. I’m attaching our PAP eHoliday card so you can get an idea of what we’ve been up to at our host sites. I hope you like it!