Catalyst - FALL 2021 VOL 4 NO 2 - Page 14



If we get them approved, they're approved for whole year, and they can either send a 90 day or 120 day supply, which is nice because I find sometimes with the 30 day supply people forget to get a refill. It's a hassle sometimes going back to the drug store and this provides two ways of getting their prescriptions. We can send the medicine directly to the home, which most of the pills are, but the insulin has to go to the doctor or clinic and we have eight locations. At four of those locations, we are actually in the free clinics so that when you see a provider, you immediately come see us and we sign you up for the medicine.

When I started doing this, there was a 14 day turnaround time from the application to the medicine coming to the recipient. Since COVID-19 hit, it's taking almost 30 days now to get your medicine, but we have a partnership, one of which is SIRUM. We can get medicine, even if it's just a six dollar, 90 day supply with SIRUM. If the doctor sends an e-script in three to five days, they have their medicine. Also, we partner with one of the local hospitals, St. Joseph's Candler. If you run out, the doctor can send a prescription to the St Joseph's Candler pharmacy, and we can get a 30 day supply of emergency medicine. So once you get in contact with us, either we're going to get that medicine from the hospital, or we're going to get it through SIRUM, but you're going to go home that day with medicine while we work on getting that 30 day supply from the drug company.

No one in this country should go without medicine - no one, and we have the capacity to do it. There are not thousands of MedBanks across the country, but in some other states, at least they have expanded Medicaid to cover more people. Between the hospitals, SIRUM, Walmart's four dollar program and Publix has a $7.50 program, as well as a $2.50 program. We look at everything out there to see where we can get your medicine, preferably at no cost or at the lowest possible cost that we can find.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the work that you all do? What have some of the repercussions been on the way you serve your community?

We did not shut down, but we already had a system in place where we could take our applications are online in English and in Spanish, but everyone does not have access to the Internet. The biggest thing was less face-to-face interaction and getting people to call us over the phone. If you can't download it (the application), we can mail it to you. That takes more time and you have to mail it back. In some cases, for the people we mailed applications to, we have a slot in our door where they could put in the application and the supporting documentation. We could fax the application to the doctor because their doctor has to sign off on the script. We sent them to the drug company and that took some time down. So we never stopped providing service; we could do it online by phone, by email, by text, if we had to.

The biggest challenge for us has been, we lost some people; we don't know where they are or