JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -In 2002, the NEA Clinic's Charitable Foundation began its Medicine Assistance Program.
In today's economy, with many unable to afford much-needed medications, it's a much-needed program. But it doesn't work the way you might think.
Nearly every pharmaceutical company has a patients assistance program.
"But sometimes they are hard to navigate. So we're here to act as the middleman help these individuals get these prescriptions they so desperately need."
Kim Provost is the Director of Fundraising for the NEA Charitable Foundation and oversees the Medicine Assistance Program. The program has been in existence since 2002, helping patients receive over 36 million dollars in drugs.
The program acts as a liaison between the drug companies and the patients working with doctors all over Region 8.
"Not just NEA Clinic physicians but there are numerous physicians in different counties. Right now we are in a 17 county radius."
Provost says she has seen an increase in applicants of all ages this year for a variety of reasons.
"A lot of it is due to Medicare Part D. but some of it is also due to the economy."
Roy and Betty Grant were a hard working couple who put a good amount of money in the stock market after retirement, and then things went South. Now they are having issues with paying for their medication.
Roy has had numerous bypass surgeries and Betty has twice battled cancer. Besides the medical costs the drug costs are overwhelming each month. Over 900 dollars.
Betty said it took all they had to survive not counting the medication. So did they ever think about stopping meds when times got rough?
"Been real fortunate that we have not had to miss any of our medications because of the medicine assistance program."
Kim Provost, "We're able to help them get their prescription medications so they can make sure they have food to eat. And there are people who really have to deal with that. That's their day to day struggle."
The Medicine Assistance Program can help anyone who is in need of medication. There are a couple of qualifiers.
Provost, "One you cannot have any prescription drug coverage and the other is you meet income guidelines which are set by each individual pharmaceutical company."
For more information you can call this number...870-934-5400 or you can click on the NEA link with this story.