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Program aids delivery of needed medications

Apr. 20, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

West Virginia is once again being held up as an example regarding prescription drugs.

Fortunately, this time in a positive way.

The West Virginia Rx program, administered by the West Virginia Health Right organization based in Charleston, was one of 10 finalists for the 2012 Community Partnership Award from Mutual of America Life Insurance Co. The award program honors outstanding contributions that nonprofit organizations and their partners make to society and specifically in developing new approaches to confront significant issues.

West Virginia Health Right, the state's oldest and largest free clinic, began West Virginia Rx as the state's only charitable mail-order pharmacy in 2008. It provides branded prescription drugs for chronic illnesses at no cost to West Virginians who are uninsured or underinsured with household incomes 200 percent or less of the federal poverty level.

Besides providing life-sustaining medications to people who could otherwise not afford them, WVRx connects patients who do not have a prescribing clinician to a "medical home" in their vicinity. Mutual of America also cited the development of the program's "innovative" electronic medication management system, which helps streamline the delivery of medications. Of course, the program also has many partners, including nine drug manufacturers.

As Mutual of America noted, a National Institutes of Health study found that if uninsured patients have access to needed medicines, they go to the emergency room 61 percent less often and have 39 percent fewer hospitalizations.

With a high level of both health issues and poverty in the state, WVRx meets an important need. Congratulations to its founders for their work helping West Virginians cope with their health issues.

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