UVM Health Network expands access to affordable medications

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UVM Health Network expands access to affordable medications

Thu, 11/18/2021 - 3:56pm -- tim

Health Assistance Program provides free prescription drugs to eligible patients

Vermont Business Magazine Recognizing that high and rising costs of prescription drugs present barriers to care and difficult choices for too many people in Vermont and Northern New York, The University of Vermont Health Network has launched a program to provide low- and middle-income patients with prescription medications at no cost.

Over the years, The UVM Health Network has developed strong financial assistance policies, providing free and reduced cost care for thousands of uninsured and under-insured patients each year. Historically, these policies have helped pay for hospital care – but have not extended to outpatient prescription drug costs. By launching an additional benefit – the UVM Health Network Health Assistance Program (HAP) – the Network can help make sure patients do not have to choose between paying for the medications they need and paying for other necessities like food or utilities.

The program, which already serves patients at some affiliate hospitals and is now officially launching Network-wide, is made possible by a federal prescription medication price control program called 340B that allows safety net health care providers like those in The UVM Health Network to purchase drugs at discounted prices.

“The 340B program is allowing us to provide this critical support,” said John R. Brumsted, MD, President and CEO of The UVM Health Network. “We have always invested savings from the program directly back into patient care, and expanding our prescription assistance program allows us to stretch resources to help low- and middle-income patients access medications they need to stay well or prevent their conditions from worsening.”

All co-pays and costs are waived for both brand-name and generic prescriptions for patients and families that qualify for HAP. Some patients may be surprised to learn they are eligible to enroll in HAP, since income thresholds are typically higher than for other assistance programs. For example, a family of four with a household income of $100,000 could save up to $600 per month on out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy.

The program provides medications through UVM Health Network pharmacies, and patients can either pick up their medications or have them mailed to their home. HAP can also provide access to eyeglasses and some medical equipment, as well as advocacy and help with enrolling in state and federal programs such as Vermont Health Connect for those who do not currently have health insurance.

“I’m really proud of the support we’re able to provide. HAP case managers frequently hear feedback like ‘life-changing’ and ‘a burden has been lifted’ when recipients learn they do not have to stress about paying for their medication,” said Erin Armstrong, UVM Health Network’s Community Benefits Manager. “If you are a low- or middle-income patient living within the service area of the UVM Health Network – from Malone, N.Y., to Berlin, Vt., and all the communities between – and you need help paying for your prescriptions, I urge you to get in touch.”

Patients should call 802-847-6984 (toll-free 1-888-739-5183) or email HealthAssistanceProgram@UVMHealth.org to learn whether they qualify.

Additional information about UVM Health Network assistance programs is available at https://www.uvmhealth.org/health-wellness/health-assistance-program.

About The University of Vermont Health Network

The University of Vermont Health Network is an integrated system serving the residents of Vermont and northern New York with a shared mission: working together, we improve people’s lives. The partners are:

Source: University of Vermont Health Network BURLINGTON – 11.18.2021