Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The Duke Endowment Grants $400,000 Over Three Years to Help Uninsured With Prescriptions
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation helped MedAssist receive a grant from The Duke Endowment, which will assist with program expansion during a time when many non-profit organizations are experiencing cutbacks. The grant total of $400,000 will be distributed to MedAssist over the next three years.
The Duke Endowment will help MedAssist respond to the economic downturn within the community and continue to expand new client enrollment by more than 2500 clients. It will also allow for the addition of new staff positions, including a pharmacy technician and patient assistance program assistant.
Lori Giang, CEO and executive director of MedAssist, is thankful for the support.
“We are so grateful from the bottom of our hearts for Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation,” Giang said. “If it wasn’t for their support of this grant, so many people in the community would go without services to meet these critical needs.”
MedAssist, founded in 1997, was developed to provide senior adults with prescription medication. Ten years later, enrollment was expanded to anyone who is uninsured and low-income, regardless of age. In 2009, MedAssist partnered with the North Carolina Association of Free Clinics to provide a state-wide model for distributing medication to all of North Carolina’s uninsured and low-income residents. They work very closely with all free clinics in Mecklenburg county, including Charlotte Community Health Clinic, the largest free clinic in the county.
Most of the medications dispensed treat chronic diseases such as heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis and seizure disorders. They also provide antibiotics and antiviral medications for acute illnesses.
“These conditions are very manageable and most people can continue to lead a normal life,” Giang said. “However, without the proper medications to treat these conditions, we see increased visits to the emergency room and time away from work that results in loss of income which can devastate a family who is already struggling to make ends meet.”
In the 2008-2009fiscal year, MedAssist served 6,592 clients and dispensed 35,907 prescriptions. They currently serve 12 counties, and by 2011 hope to increase that number to all 100 counties in North Carolina.
“This grant is truly a blessing for our local community,” Giang said. “With the current economic crisis we have seen a 43 percent increase in clients from 2008 to 2009. So many people are losing their jobs, have no insurance and turning to us for help with their medications. Because of this funding , we will be able to continue to expand to meet the growing needs of Mecklenburg County’s uninsured.”