Local News

Federal program helps uninsured get medications

Posted April 2, 2010 5:35 p.m. EDT
Updated April 2, 2010 6:26 p.m. EDT

— A Person County clinic and a federal program are helping the uninsured buy medications in the county with the highest unemployment rate in North Carolina.

A 2008 report found that 19 percent of people in Person County don't have health insurance. Staff at Person Family Medical and Dental Center believe the rate has become much higher as more people have lost their jobs.

Tammy Oliver said she's been in that situation since she lost her job last May. She takes medications to control her blood pressure and cholesterol.

"I'm on two prescriptions that are $300 apiece," Oliver said.

Person Family Medical and Dental Center recently applied for the federal 340B program. It allows patients to save up to 60 percent on their medications.

"We buy the medications at a minimal amount, and then in turn, we can let the patient have them for the same amount," explained Person Family Medical outreach coordinator Susan Burnette.

The medication is distributed through an approved pharmacy – in this case, Community Pharmacy. Patients are charged on a sliding scale based on what they can afford.

About 400 patients have signed up since the program started in Roxboro a month ago.

Any patient at Person Family Medical can qualify for the program. Patients receive cards that they can take to Community Pharmacy to get the discounts on their prescriptions. Pharmacy staff said that most drugs are discounted.

"My philosophy is the pill is only as good as the person who takes it, and if I can help them find the means to take that pill, then, absolutely, we want to do it," said nurse practitioner Elizabeth Boozer, with Person Family Medical.

Oliver said she can't begin to describe how much the program has helped her get the medications she needs.

"I wouldn't be able to take it if I didn't have those discounts," she said.