• Innovation in Action

Mar 5, 2024

Partnership With Local Pharmacy School and Area Pharmacies Helps Low-Income Patients Afford Medications

Buchanan General Block for website

Buchanan General Hospital, located in a rural, underserved community in Virginia, partnered with the local pharmacy school and local pharmacies to make necessary medications more affordable for low-income and self-pay patients.

Buchanan General Hospital found that many pharmacies offered cost assistance services but not all patients were aware of these options. A team from the hospital created a list of the available services, which included community food banks, food services and contact information, and shared this with patients.

The hospital also connected patients struggling to afford their medications with students who assisted them with filling out necessary paperwork to receive assistance paying for their medications.

In one instance, the hospital collaborated with a physician to have a prescription changed so that it was more affordable for the patient, according to Patty Dorton, Chief Nursing Officer at Buchanan General Hospital.

So far, the hospital has identified 91 patients who did not have insurance to cover medication costs upon discharge from its emergency department. Of these 91 patients, they successfully connected 60 to receive assistance through the following programs: Mountain Care Meds (through Appalachian College of Pharmacy), local pharmacy discount programs, discount prescription card (such as GoodRX), and/or connection with the local Health Wagon.

“The inability to comply with prescribed medication plans not only leads to poor management of both acute and chronic conditions, but also contributes to hospital readmissions and negative patient outcomes,” Patty said. “By connecting patients with specific resources dedicated to medication cost reduction, we are helping patients and rural community members improve self-management of acute and chronic conditions.”

Buchanan General Hospital is a 2023 Health Quality Innovator of the Year runner up in the Rural Health Category. Click HERE to read about all the winners and runners up.

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