Lives are changed by Medicine Assistance Program

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JONESBORO, Ark. – Janie Eldridge posted that her life was saved by the NEA Baptist Charitable Foundation’s Medicine Assistance Program (MAP).

In a comment on the MAP’s official page, Eldridge said the program had been there for her for over five years.

“There would have been no way that I could have afforded all the medicines I have to take,” Eldridge said of the program.

Her comment, posted in 2012, is one of several indicating life saving services were provided for people forced to choose between essential medicine and expenses like food, clothing and shelter.

Started in March 2002, the program was the first in what has grown to a series of services offered by NEABCF, said Director of Events Kim Provost.

“It was established back in 2002 as an organized way for our physicians to give back to the community,” Provost told NEA Report. “They formed a foundation and as a result, this was the very first program. Our physicians realized the need to assist our patients with medication. The program works with patients from physicians at NEA Baptist but from other providers, as well.”

The MAP helps patients obtain their prescriptions by aiding in preparing the correct paperwork in obtaining these prescriptions from the pharmaceutical companies. If you’ve ever watched television news, for example, commercials for pharmaceutical products are often concluded with a mention of help being available for those who need medicine and can’t afford it. It is a helpful concept but with each company being different, it can be overwhelming for someone unfamiliar with the process.

That’s where MAP comes in.

MAP-logo-neabcf250

“Each individual pharmaceutical company sets their own requirements and we urge individuals if they’re having trouble affording their medications to go ahead and contact our office,” Provost said. “That way, we can check individual requirements for that drug.”

One of the more common medications patients need and receive assistance for is insulin, Provost said. Costs for insulin can range from about $140 to $270 a month, out-of-pocket. It normally isn’t the only medication needed for someone who is diabetic, Provost said, making it financially difficult for someone without prescription coverage.

“Literally, some of our folks are having to make choices between basic needs and medications and that’s where this program comes in – to help fill that gap,” Provost said.

Last year, those applying to the regional program received $3.5 million worth of prescription drug coverage assistance, Provost said.

When someone applies for assistance with the MAP, their application goes to Kelli Watson. As the Director of the Medicine Assistance Program, Watson takes a great personal interest in helping impact those lives where it is needed.

“We have patients who are struggling and who don’t even have any drug coverage and they’re getting assistance,” Watson said. “They are very, very happy that there is a program or assistance for that medication. That’s a big benefit to the patient to not have to spend that kind of money out-of-pocket.”

Demonstrating her personal investment in the effort, Watson defined her goal as to achieve assistance for those she’s working with. She said if she doesn’t find success the first time, she likes to “win that appeal” with the pharmaceutical company being applied to.

KelliWatsonNEABCF
Medicine Assistance Program Director Kelli Watson takes calls at her desk Wednesday, Sept. 6.

But you can’t win an appeal, or receive help, if you don’t apply. Watson said many who could qualify are afraid to because they think they won’t meet requirements.

“When you start talking income, everybody gets afraid that they’re not going to qualify,” Watson said. “I say it’s worth a shot and we can try.”


What you need to know

To apply for the Medicine Assistance Program, print out and mail in this form:

Enrollment Application Information Sheet

Send to:

Medicine Assistance Program
PO Box 1089
Jonesboro, AR 72403

You can also call Kelli Watson at (870)934-5400 for more information.

This information letter contains requirements you will also need to mail in: Enrollment Application Cover Letter 2017. You will need to include:

1. The information sheet that is attached above.

Include Proof of Income – only send what applies to your current situation.
a. Copy of your 2015 Federal income tax return – Form 1040
b. Copy of your Benefits for 2017 from Social Security (please contact your social security office to obtain information)
c. Proof of your monthly income from any other source, including pension, unemployment, employment, child support, etc.

2. The Medicine Assistance Program will then review your medications and locate any programs available through the pharmaceutical companies.

3. After they have received your completed information page and proof of income, forms from each pharmaceutical company will be mailed to you. These forms will also need to be returned to the Medicine Assistance Program. They will then complete your application.

4. Once they have received the paperwork from the doctor it will take the pharmaceutical companies approximately four to six weeks to process your paperwork. Once you start receiving your medications, call 6 WEEKS before you are out of medication to reorder.

You can find more information about the Medicine Assistance Program online at the NEABCF’s website. 

by Stan Morris | NEA Report

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