The Prescription Assistance Network of Stark County works to aid residents in need of prescription drug assistance through advocacy, education and coordination of services. The nonprofit agency was initiated through conversations between Austin Bailey Health and Wellness Foundation and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton.
The groups initially met to address requests for funding from social service agencies, clinics and churches to purchase drugs for the uninsured and indigent in Stark County. The Prescription Assistance Network was founded Nov. 18, 2002, by the foundations. An individual can earn up to $21,780 a year to qualify for assistance from the program. A family of two can earn up to $29,420; family of three, up to $37,060; and family of four, up to $44,700.
“The typical scenario with the downturn in the local economy is that individuals are applying that
have been affected by businesses’ downsizing, layoffs or closings — and their benefits have run out,” said Carol Risaliti, executive director. “Typically, they will tell us, ‘I always gave to United Way or other charities and never thought I would be in this position.’ They feel awkward asking for help. Many tell us they are skipping doses of medications or not taking their medications at all. They must choose between paying utilities, groceries and providing for their children.”
The Prescription Assistance Network is a licensed pharmacy that is managed by a licensed pharmacist. It purchases emergency medications for residents of Stark County, enrolls individuals into Medicare D Plans and pharmaceutical company Patient Assistance Programs and provides the medication to residents at minimal cost or free. The network also collaborates with agencies, clinics, hospitals, volunteers and community organizations to provide services.
Since it began, the Prescription Assistance Network has served more than 6,000 people. In 2010, it dispensed more than $700,000 in donated medicines. In 2011, it is on track to dispense medication with a donated value of $1,250,000. It is estimated that more than 16,000 prescriptions will be filled and dispensed to more than 2,500 individuals through the end of the year.
“There are many things that are unique, effective and wonderful about the Prescription Assistance Network,” said Risaliti. “One of them is the fact that clients of PAN are served all year and receive expert pharmaceutical assistance on an on-going basis all year.”
PRESCRIPTION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM OF STARK COUNTY
WHAT: A nonprofit agency that addresses the need for prescription medication for the uninsured and indigent in Stark County.
BOARD MEMBERS: Nancy McPeek, retired, Chase Bank, president; Geraldine Radcliffe, Sisters of Charity board member, first vice chairman; Dr. James Pritchard, retired physician and coroner, second vice president; Emily S. Caniford, director of administration and support services, Stark County Health Department, secretary; Peter Kopko, retired certified public accountant, treasurer; Steve Burger, certified public accountant, controller, Employers Health Purchasing Corp.; Janet Creighton, Stark County commissioner; Barbara J. Currence, executive director, ABLE; Daniel J. Fuline, executive director and chief executive officer, Community Services of Stark County; Dennis Haas, general manager, Quality Steel,Timken Co.; Richard Kress, senior vice president, commercial banking, Huntington National Bank; Janie Pavlek, communications, Creative Juices; Eric Riley, chief executive officer, Canton Community Clinic; Scott Sandrock, attorney, Brenan, Manna & Diamond; Jeffrey Smith, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Mercy Medical Center; Melanie Strang, senior programmer-analyst,Timken Co.; Don A. Sultzbach, executive director, Austin-Bailey Health and Wellness Foundation; and Paul Witkowski, director of pharmacy, Alliance Community Hospital.
PROCEEDS: Support the operation of the Prescription Assistance Network of Stark County.
DONATIONS: Donation checks are payable to Prescription Assistance Network of Stark County. Send to Prescription Assistance Network of Stark County, Community Campus at Goodwill, 408 Ninth St. SW, Canton, OH 44707.