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County taking part in prescription assistance program

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By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

At the end of television commercials for many prescription drugs, a voice-over states something like, “If you need help paying for your prescriptions, call...”

If you have wondered if those offers of help apply to you, a new program in the county can answer your questions.

In October 2008, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced the Kentucky Prescription Assistance Program. It was described as an innovative initiative to utilize and coordinate existing programs.

Henry County residents now have easy access to KPAP.

Henry County Judge Executive John Logan Brent said he, Oldham County Judge Executive Duane Muerner and Judge Randy Stevens of Trimble counties met with a governor’s representative last spring and decided to participate in the program.

Brent said the state developed and paid for software that allows trained individuals to access sources of free and low-cost medications.

“This is an innovative, creative solution to financial challenges and help people,” Brent said. “This has the capacity to help 200 to 300 people in Henry County alone.”

He said joining forces with Oldham and Trimble counties allowed all three to reap the benefits of the program without having to foot the entire bill.

Brent said Henry County Fiscal Court allocated $5,000 as its part to train and hire a part-time employee to administer the program from the Tri-County Community Action Agency site at the Senior Activities Center in New Castle.

“We thought it would be the perfect program for them to manage,” he said, “since they already serve the needs of many people who could benefit from the program.”

Pharmaceutical companies have had programs in place for years that offer payment assistance. The trick has been knowing how to maneuver through the system and access the programs.

Brent said the software the state developed gets the answers by utilizing each company’s Web site.

“Every company has its own rules and produces different medications,” he said.

Polly Troxell, a volunteer at the Henry County Tri-County Community Action Agency office, was trained on the software. At least two more people are to be trained at that location.

The application process takes 2-3 weeks.

Recently, Troxell took one local gentleman through the entire process. He lost his job and was no longer covered through insurance. Troxell found that when he became qualified, KPAP would save him about $1,900 each month.

“He ended up getting COBRA, but it really showed me how well the program works,” she said. “You can’t just immediately get your prescriptions, but once you get approved it’s easy.”

According to Troxell, an important aspect of KPAP is that it fills a gap that many Medicare recipients fear. “It’s going to cover the dreaded Medicare Part D ‘doughnut hole,’” she said.

The program is not confined to Medicare recipients. “Old or young, even employed people without insurance may qualify,” Troxell said.

Participants in the program only have to fill out one application and the volunteer or staff member will look up the needed medications through the Web site, according to Troxell.

“It’s all bundled into one package and sent off together,” she said. “I am thrilled there’s another program we can use to help people in the community.”

TCAA will compile statistics to show how much money local residents have saved through the program.

“This is about as good a bang for our buck as we’re going to get,” Brent said.

For more information or to make an appointment, call the Tri-County Community Action Agency at 845-7808. To look up KPAP on-line, visit the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services at www.chfs.gov.

E-mail us about this article at news@hclocal.com.