The Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio, a ministry of The West Ohio Conference, has received a $10,000 grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)’s Sheltering in Love COVID-19 Rapid Response fund.
The grant will be used to purchase additional medications to provide 60-day supplies to patients, particularly older adults with chronic health conditions who are most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus.
From March 12-April 12, 2020, the Charitable Pharmacy saw a 30% increase in patients and a 38% rise in the number of prescriptions dispensed. Per the CDC’s recommendation to help patients shelter at home, the Pharmacy began dispensing 60-day supplies of medications instead of 30-day. That combined with a surge in demand for expensive medications such as insulin and inhalers meant the value of the prescriptions dispensed by the Pharmacy increased by 332% - from about $550,000 in 2019 to $2.3 million in 2020.
The Charitable Pharmacy, well-known in the community for its hands-on approach to patient care, has changed its method of delivery to curbside pick-up, along with mailing prescriptions and no-contact home delivery for a small number of patients. New patients are being qualified for services by phone, and the Pharmacy staff works staggered shifts to allow for social distancing.
The Pharmacy’s patient population has consistently tended toward older adults with multiple chronic illnesses who require 7-8 medications every day. Many of these patients are underinsured with high co-pays they cannot afford. Patients are referred to the Charitable Pharmacy by emergency rooms, free clinics, doctor’s offices, social service agencies, and even other pharmacies. Charitable Pharmacy patients must be residents of Franklin County, Ohio, with an income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
“In our community, many of our older adult neighbors who struggle with poverty are especially affected by the coronavirus crisis, and this emergency relief will help us make sure they have the prescription medications they need to stay home and stay safe,” states Jennifer Seifert, Executive Director of the Charitable Pharmacy. “Every day as up to 70 patients pick up medication curbside and as we speak with many patients over the phone to follow-up, they express such heartfelt thanks for community support.”
UMCOR’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund was created to equip partners to assist vulnerable populations around the world impacted by COVID-19. As of June 18, UMCOR has awarded 145 grants totaling $1,548,334 to ministries who are on the front lines of the pandemic response.
Thank you to all those in West Ohio who have supported UMCOR’s COVID-19 fund. To donate online, go to the webpage here.