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Starting a Medication Assistance Program with The Pharmacy

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									                         Starting a Medication Assistance Program with
                          The Pharmacy Connection

As prescription costs continue to rise, more people are turning to Patient Assistance
Programs to access free medications. By using The Pharmacy Connection, a
Medication Assistance Program will be well-equipped to meet the documentation and
time-consuming requirements of each of the 158 Patient Assistance Programs
administered by pharmaceutical companies.

After deciding to acquire The Pharmacy Connection (TPC) to assist in your medication
access efforts, be sure to consider the following:


I. Evaluate Staff Needs
    TPC is used most efficiently and effectively by someone who works with the
     program on a regular basis. A successful MAP typically has dedicated paid staff
     to work as Medication Assistance Caseworker(s) (See Attachment A: Sample
     Job Description.) An average benchmark is to plan for 400 patients per full-time
     caseworker.
    Volunteers are extremely helpful, but unless they work with the Patient
     Assistance Programs and TPC on a regular and consistent basis, it may be
     advantageous to assign them to mailing, patient intake, filing, or returning phone
     calls, rather than using TPC.

II. Identify Available and Needed Resources
    A successful MAP requires:
         Adequate office space, including space for filing cabinets
         A dedicated phone line with voicemail
         Access to fax
         Access to photocopier
         Funds for postage
         Other miscellaneous office supplies
         High-speed internet connection
         Adequate computer hardware and software to run The Pharmacy
           Connection (see Attachment B for The Pharmacy Connection
           Specifications)
III. Develop a Strategy for Short-Term Medication Needs
   It will take four to eight weeks between the time TPC medications are ordered
    until they are received. Develop a plan for helping clients during this “bridge”
    period. Potential sources of short-term medications include:
         physician samples;
         a dedicated fund and system purchasing medications;
         community organizations or churches with emergency funds;
         using drug company discount cards;
         arranging for discounts for referred patients at a local pharmacy.

IV. Develop Strategy for Outreach
   Develop an outreach/marketing plan to answer the following questions:
       How will your clients hear about you?
              Identify referral sources
              Newspaper articles
              Flyer, brochure placement
              Radio, television interviews
       How will physicians know they can send patients to you for help?
              Face-to-face meetings with physician office manager or physician
       How will the community know you provide a service that is worth
          supporting?
              Kick-off event
              Newspaper articles
              Presentations to service clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, etc.)

V. Develop Strategy to Evaluate and Improve
   A good way to evaluate how you are doing is to survey those with whom you are
    working. Be sure to survey your patients to determine if you are meeting their
    needs. (See Attachment C: Sample Patient Survey)
   Working with PAPs is a dynamic process. As pharmaceutical companies change
    their requirements, a successful MAP will continually improve its processes and
    procedures to adapt to changes.


VI. Develop Funding/Sustainability Plan
   Determine the cost of the program, including one-time expenses, to develop a
    budget.
   After determining that you have adequate funding to start the program, plan
    ahead for how the MAP will be sustained in the future. Remember, people will
    be relying on you for necessary medications and will be relying on the MAP to be
    there in the future. (See Attachment D: Tips for Creating a Fundraising Plan)
                                                                       ATTACHMENT A




                             Sample Job Description: Medication Assistance
                                   Caseworker

Position Description: Medication Assistance Caseworker

Purpose: To perform responsible functions related to the procurement and tracking of
free medications for qualifying patients. Tasks performed under regular supervision.


Responsibilities:
     Day-to-day operation of The Pharmacy Connection (TPC) software;
     Screen patients for income level and determine whether or not patient qualifies
      for any patient assistance programs;
     Data entry of necessary information for TPC;
     Order medications from pharmaceutical companies’ patient assistance
      programs;
     Assemble information from various sources for records and reports;
     Complete required paperwork for each pharmaceutical company;
     Communicate via mail or telephone to physician’s offices, patients, and
      pharmaceutical companies;
     Attend TPC trainings and roundtables;
     Operate standard office equipment (copier, fax);
     Train others persons as needed on The Pharmacy Connection software;
     Other duties as assigned.


Knowledge, skills and abilities:
    Demonstrate initiative and ability to function independently
    Must be able to type a minimum of 40 wpm
    Must have excellent interpersonal communication skills
    Must be detail-oriented
    Possess general knowledge of Windows computer programs
    Ability to focus on detailed paperwork


Education and experience:
     Must have a high school diploma
     Must be computer literate
     Medical office background desirable
                                                                           ATTACHMENT B




                             What are the computer specifications needed to
                              operate The Pharmacy Connection effectively?

    Server or Client and Server Combined (if TPC will be installed on one
    computer without a true server)
     Intel Pentium Processor 1.5 GHz or greater
     Operating System – Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 2000 Server, XP
      Pro
     256 MB of memory
     At least 150 MB of hard drive space available for the installation
     CDRW drive
     High speed internet connection
     Monitor appropriately sized for 1024 X 768 resolution
    If you plan to have the software installed on a server contact VHCF for
    specifications


Client (when you have a server and more than one user will access the TPC
program)
    Intel Pentium Processor 1 GHz or greater
    Operating System – Windows 2000 Professional or XP Pro
    128 MB of memory
    At least 30 MB of hard drive space available for the application
    CDRW drive
    High speed internet connection (modem if connecting remotely)
    Monitor appropriately sized for 1024 X 768 resolution
All computers that will be using TPC SQL must have one of the following
versions of Microsoft Word: 2000, XP or 2003. A CD burner is recommended for
back-ups.
If a firewall is installed it must be configured to allow access per the Microsoft
Knowledgebase Article #287932.
                                                                                   ATTACHMENT C




                              SAMPLE PATIENT SURVEY
                      The Medication Assistance Program
                                January 2005
 Please circle the best answer
1. How long have you been participating in The     <1 yr                  1-2 yr       3+ yr
Medication Assistance Program?
2. How many different medications do you receive
through the program?                                           1-3 4-6 7-10 11+
3. The number of times I have gone to the
emergency room due to my chronic illness had                     YES        NO         n/a
decreased since participating in the Medication
Assistance Program.
5. The number of times I have been hospitalized
due to my chronic illness has decreased since                    YES        NO         n/a
participating in the Medication Assistance Program.
6. Have you recommended friends/family members
to the program?                                                       YES              NO

Please circle the best answer according to the following scale:
1 – Strongly Disagree 2 - Disagree 3 – No Change          4 - Agree   5 – Strongly Agree
7. I receive most of the medications ordered.
                                                                 1    2     3      4    5
8. This program has improved my quality of life.
                                                                 1    2     3      4    5
9. My financial situation has improved due to the
program.                                                         1    2     3      4    5
10. My general health has improved since joining
the program.                                                     1    2     3      4    5
11. Before joining the program, I rarely took all of
my medication exactly as prescribed.                             1    2     3      4    5
12. The program staff is helpful with questions I
have about my medications.                                       1    2     3      4    5
13. Do you believe that if this program where
terminated, your health would decline?                           1    2     3      4    5
1 – Strongly Disagree 2 - Disagree 3 – No Change         4 - Agree    5 – Strongly Agree
                                                                         ATTACHMENT C




Part 2

1. How did you learn about The Medication Assistance Program?

     Newspaper     Radio    TV      Doctor    Social Services    Friend

     Hospital   Other ______________________

2.    What do you like about the program?




3. How can the program be improved?




4. Briefly explain how this program has improved your quality of life.
                                                                   ATTACHMENT D




                              Tips for Creating a Fundraising Plan

I.      Review your organization’s vision, mission and strategic plan.
        If possible, condense your vision, mission, and yearly organization
        plan into a one paragraph case statement.

II.     Determine the total number of dollars that need to be raised from
        philanthropic donors for annual/operation funds and for capital (one-
        time) purposes.

III.    Establish a goal for each method you will use to raise these funds: for
        example, an amount from individuals, foundations, corporations,
        religious institutions, other organizations, special events, partnerships,
        local governments, etc. This goal should be expressed in terms of the
        number of solicitations, number of donors, and $$$’s to be raised.

IV.     List the activities (objectives) you will engage to reach each goal. For
        example: personal solicitations; direct mail; telephone solicitations;
        proposals; or special events. These objectives should be specific,
        measurable, and have a due date. You need to show how you, your
        volunteers, and your donors will know if your have been successful.

V.      Establish tactics or the means you will use to accomplish each activity:
        for example, your plan for your annual giving campaign or special
        event may involve work throughout the year leading up to the
        conclusion of the activity.

VI.     Assign responsibility for each activity to:
        ◦ Development staff
        ◦ Executive director/president
        ◦ Member of the board of directors/ chair of the board
        ◦ Administrative support staff (maintaining files, data, preparing
           mailings…)

VII.    Draft a time line or calendar showing what will be done, by whom, and
        when.

VIII.   The plan does not need to be long, but should involve thought and be
        relevant to your organization.

*from Lee Switz’s Introduction to Fund Raising class materials.
Lee teaches in VCU’s Especially for Non-Profits program

								
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