Medicaid Cuts Have Free Pharmacy Phones Ringing Off The Hooks - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/15/04

Medicaid Cuts Have Free Pharmacy Phones Ringing Off The Hooks

Frightened and anxious, many people about to be dropped from the Medicaid program are turning to a local charity for help. But the folks at St. Vincent DePaul say their hands are tied. The director says the pharmacy is barely able to meet the needs of its current clients. With the cuts to Medicaid, new requests are coming in in droves.

With no way of paying for her Epilepsy medication, Carol Ward turned to St. Vincent DePaul pharmacy for help. Three weeks after she got a letter approving her for Medicaid, Ward found out she'd been dropped.

"I don't know what people are supposed to do," said Ward. "Senior citizens and people that have to take medicine, people that are diabetics, they're going to cut Medicaid where you can't get your prescriptions. What are they supposed to do? Where are they supposed to get all this medicine from?"

St. Vincent DePaul pharmacy gets most of its medicine from doctors who donate their samples. Medicaid cuts have put more strain on a program that's already close to being stretched beyond its limits.

Theresa Pavlov is the pharmacy's executive director.

"We're getting calls off the hook now of people worried if their going to be able to get their drugs covered and wanting help with those and we're really not set up to do that."

Albert Rosario has severe arthritis, liver problems and a Medicaid card he says is worthless.

"It's terrible because the check I get every month is not enough. I have a house. I have a lot of bills to pay."

On this day Carol Ward is one of the lucky ones. She will get help for now.

"It's a big relief. At least for six months," said Ward

The folks at St. Vincent DePaul say it breaks their hearts knowing they can't afford to give everyone that same peace of mind. The director says last year St Vincent DePaul pharmacy gave out $750,000 in free medicine.

by Danielle Thomas

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