By Daphne Stewart
Their stories are similar…they have been to the emergency room, the do not have any prescription insurance, they have been out of work for several months, they have been on long-term medications for several years, they have applied for disability, etc., etc. These are just some of the scenarios we encounter every day at Catholic Charities Prescription Assistance Program, part of the Stark Prescription Assistance Network. Usually we are able to make a quick determination of whether we are able to help fill the emergency prescriptions to meet their temporary need, but our involvement with them does not stop there. Our prescription assistance program is much more than a quick fix to our client’s immediate medication need…our concern is about the client’s total needs. By taking the time to ask questions and listen, we can ascertain not only our client’s medical but their physical, emotional, spiritual and financial needs. During a thorough assessment interview we are able to identify a broader picture of our client’s situation and therefore determine where we should direct our client for further information and follow-up. Fortunately we are able to provide some supportive services through Catholic Charities as well as work with outside agencies that can help meet their needs. Here at Catholic Charities we can assist through our Emergency Assistance Program with rent, utilities, and food; the First Step Program can help families with pregnancy and parenting needs; our Adult Day Services can provide respite for families who are caring for an older member needing assistance; our Housing Counseling Program can help families prevent foreclosure. Persons needing long-term medications are assisted in signing up for pharmaceutical company prescription assistance programs. In addition to our services, there are many local agencies we refer our clients to; for example, if we think our client may be eligible for Disability, Medicaid, Food Stamps, PRC, or QMB, we direct them to The Stark County Department of Jobs and Family Services. If our client has no insurance, low income and does not have an established doctor, we refer them to Western Stark Medical Clinic, Aultman Clinic, Mercy Medical Center Clinic, The Total Living Center, or the Canton Community Clinic. If they are eligible for Medicare we direct them to the Social Security Administration or The Area Agency on Aging. When the client comes to us lonely or in need of socialization we steer them to the area churches or agencies that offer support groups. Frequently, many of our clients just need someone to listen to their story; many don’t know where to turn next so most of the time they merely need to be pointed in the right direction. Temporary assistance with emergency medications is just the beginning when they call the Catholic Charities Prescription Assistance Program. We recognize that “it takes a village” to meet the needs of an individual and we are pleased we are supported by the various area agencies in this endeavor.