Published Wednesday, March 20, 2013
The Coweta Samaritan Clinic’s Patient Assistance Program (PAP) is helping more than a fourth of its patients to receive medications they could otherwise not afford.
Registered Nurse Laura Thomas, volunteer and front office coordinator, is overseeing the program.
The Coweta Samaritan Clinic, located on Jackson Street in Newnan, provides free primary care to Coweta residents 19 and older who are uninsured and meet specific income eligibility guidelines.
Often a patient needing an antibiotic or other prescription medicine can receive a low-cost generic at one of many area pharmacies offering those.
Another option is to provide a patient with sample medicines donated by physicians offices. “Our first step is to try and prescribe something on one of those lists,” said Thomas.
But for those needing medicine for a chronic condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, low-cost drugs are not an option.
Thomas has contacted the major drug manufacturers, many of which have their own patient assistant programs to provide free medicines for those in need. Each company has different guidelines or requirements, and Thomas has familiarized herself with the programs to help Samaritan Clinic patients navigate the process.
“The applications can be confusing,” said Thomas.
If a patient is determined eligible for a drug company program, the medications are sent directly to the clinic for the staff to administer.
Examples of expensive but necessary medications for chronic conditions can include inhalers, blood pressure lowering drugs, and insulin for diabetics.
While waiting for a decision from a drug manufacturer, the patient can receive a temporary supply of medicine from the clinic pharmacy. “We can give them insulin we have purchased to hold them over,” said Thomas.
Volunteers help run the program, and Thomas finds it “very rewarding.” Many of the positive case outcomes for clients chronic conditions are due to the medications they have been able to secure through PAP.
Thomas is also able to use her nursing experience to give patients information on allergies, and potential drug interactions. “I really enjoy it,” she said about the work.
For more information on the Samaritan Clinic, go to cowetasamaritanclinic.org or call 770-683-5272. Services are available by appointment. To make a screening appointment, patients must come by the clinic between 10 a.m. and noon on the first Monday of the month.
The non-profit clinic is supported primarily through private donations.