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Prescription assistance program moves to Kirby Building; applicants welcome
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Joleen Tustin, left, and Betty Schneider, volunteers for Prescription Assistance of Central Kansas, review guidelines in preparation for helping an applicant. St. Rose Health Center sponsors the program, which helps with medication costs. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

  The office for the local program that helps with the cost of prescription drugs has moved but its services are still available for those who qualify.

          Prescription Assistance of Central Kansas has moved from St. Rose Health Center to the Kirby Medical Office Building, 3520 Lakin, Suite 103.

          Eligibility for the prescription program is based on income, said Joleen Tustin, volunteer coordinator. Office hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays and 2 to 4 p.m. Thursdays; the phone number is 620-792-6541.

          Tustin or her volunteer colleague, Betty Schneider, is available to prospective applicants during those hours.

          “This program is for anyone who does not have insurance to cover any part of their prescription medications,” Tustin said. “If their insurance company pays for some of the costs, they are not eligible.”

          Tustin outlined the basics of the program.

          “Say your doctor writes a prescription,” she began. “You go to the pharmacy but the cost is too high for your budget, which is not unusual. You can come to us and we will try to help.”

          Tustin emphasized that the program doesn’t have money for any medications; pharmaceutical companies, which set their own guidelines, sponsor this program.

          Medicare patients are encouraged to enroll in Plan D, which helps with drug costs. However, some companies help Medicare patients and some don’t.

          “We will guide all applicants through the whole process and fill out all their paperwork,” Tustin said. “They just need to spend a little time with us when they bring in documentation about their income.”

          Proof-of-income documentation for every wage earner in the household is a must. Depending on individual circumstances, applicants should bring one or more of these documents:


* First two pages of your most recent 1040 IRS tax form

* Copy of your Social Security or disability verification letter

* Unemployment or worker’s compensation benefits letter

* Three consecutive pay stubs


          “Once we have the information we need, we will submit it to the proper companies to determine what kind of help is available,” Tustin said. “While it takes a little bit of time, in many cases it is worth it.”

          Since the process to determine if someone qualifies may take four to six weeks, Tustin said patients with chronic conditions must find a way to pay for the first visit to the pharmacy.

          “The particulars in any specific case depend on the medication and the manufacturing company’s guidelines,” she said. “Many companies have a program like this or have access to grants.”

          Currently, the local program helps 20 to 30 people a month.

          Tustin said she appreciates St. Rose Health Center, which donates office space, equipment and supplies to the 11-year-old program. “St. Rose has always been supportive and we are grateful to everyone involved,” she commented.

          Mark Mingenback, corporate health consultant, said this is yet another way for St. Rose to fulfill its mission of helping people with their general health and well-being.

          “We are only too happy to be in this partnership with the prescription assistance program,” Mingenback said. “St. Rose will do all it can to create a healthier community.”

St. Rose specializes in primary care, prevention and wellness. Services include St. Rose Family Medicine, Convenient Care Walk-in Clinic, Great Bend Internists, imaging, infusion clinic, WellnessWorks, one-day surgical procedures, Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice and a comprehensive Specialty Clinic. St. Rose is co-owned by Hays Medical Center and Centura Health.