Texas County Memorial Hospital (TCMH) in Missouri implemented a prescription savings program to give its surrounding communities better access to medications. Discharge interviews from their readmissions reduction program found patients were being readmitted due to an inability to afford medications.
This information, coupled with data from their Health Quality Innovators (HQI) disparities reports, which showed a large low-income population, emphasized the need to address economic barriers to help the community receive medications. TCMH team members shared these findings with leadership and administration every step of the way, allowing them to gain buy-in. The hospital also leveraged existing partnerships to push this work forward, partnering with the pharmacy the hospital owns to host the initiative. Now, the program acts as a tiered medication pricing system that offers discounts on generic medication for uninsured patients.
TCMH’s participation in the six-month Health Equity Now (HEN) workgroup series provided valuable information to help them move forward with their work. Through the workgroup, they learned the importance of making small, appointed changes over time, instead of large swings all at once. This encouraged a focus on the smaller influences they could make, rather than become overwhelmed by grandiose ideas.
Looking ahead, TCMH is hoping to expand the program to include vouchers for people who are insured but have small co-pays, to help low-income patients get their co-pay fulfilled. With lessons learned throughout this process, April Crites, TCMH QA Director, said it is helpful to “Focus on a small change, then [the change] will more than likely expand on itself.”