Governor, State of Oklahoma
Speaker of the House of Representatives
President Pro Tempore of the Senate
Co-President Pro Tempore of the Senate
Director, Oklahoma Department of Human Services
From: The Oklahoma Pharmacy Connection Council
April 12, 2010
Following is the 2009 report of the Oklahoma Pharmacy Connection Council, as set out in Title 56 O.S. Section 1010.21. The Council filed a previous report dated March 24, 2009.
The purpose of the Council is to improve access to prescription drugs for citizens who have no health insurance, inadequate health insurance, or limited resources for the purchase of medically necessary prescription drugs.
HB 1853, the Rx for Oklahoma Act, was passed by the Oklahoma State Legislature in 2005. This program assists uninsured or underinsured Oklahomans in obtaining medications through pharmaceutical assistance plans. The legislature appropriated funding in the amount of one million dollars to establish the Rx for Oklahoma Program in 2005. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce administers the program and disburses the funds through Oklahoma Community Action Agencies to provide the service on a statewide basis. The Rx Oklahoma program has a statewide toll free number to ease access to assistance that took more than 5,000 calls in state fiscal year 2009. The Rx Oklahoma program coordinates with the Department of Human Services Aging Services Division, Oklahoma’s Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), the Senior Health Insurance Counseling Program (SHIP) in the Oklahoma Insurance Department, and the Oklahoma Rx Discount through the Oklahoma Pharmacy Connection Council.
Rx For Oklahoma (Oklahoma Department of Commerce)
- More than 25,000 clients have been impacted with free and discounted medication assistance that provided a better quality of living for individuals and families since December 2005.
- Approximately 79 percent of clients utilized savings to meet other essential needs, 62 percent of clients assisted utilized savings to meet other essential needs, and, and 66 percent improved their overall health.
2009 Performance Quick Facts:
- Approximately 3,900 new Clients received free or discounted medications
- Eligible Oklahomans received an estimated 17, 000 prescriptions
- $7.1 million in estimated savings
- Estimated savings per client $1,800 / annually
- Assistance with approximately four (4) prescriptions per month
Program Awards and Recognitions:
- Champion of Public Health Recognition awarded by Blue Cross Blue Shield
Older Americans Act Network and Area Agencies on Aging
- Area Agencies on Aging assisted more than 2,000 Oklahomans access resources such as Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage enrollment and assistance with finding additional help with medication costs.
Senior Health Insurance Counseling Program (SHIP) (Oklahoma Insurance Department)
- The Senior Health Insurance Counseling Program and the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) assisted 8,757 clients in 2009. More than 10,000 Oklahomans attended presentations about the program, and more than 22,000 were reached through health fairs. The majority of the clients were between 65 and 74 years old. Disabled beneficiaries numbered more than 1,500, and 3,327 persons receiving counseling were eligible for low-income assistance. The SHIP program reached 3,700 homebound beneficiaries. The Senior Medicare Patrol, a program targeted on Medicare fraud, waste and abuse, reached more than 8,600 at group education events and provided one-on-one counseling sessions with or on behalf of beneficiaries.
Oklahoma Rx Discount Drug Card Program (Oklahoma Health Care Authority)
- The Oklahoma Rx Discount card is a prescription discount card program created by the state of Oklahoma to provide discounts on prescription drugs for residents of Oklahoma. The program is overseen by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. CVS Caremark administers the program, which is a fee-based program with enrollment costs of lower income beneficiaries covered by the State of Oklahoma. The program provided almost 10,000 discounted prescriptions during 2009. Yearly cost savings over retail was about $280,500, which included about $12,400 on brand names and $268,000 on generic drugs.
Next Steps and Future Direction for the Council
- Continue to cultivate and consult with local officials, including local and state legislators, during implementation steps including funding and service delivery.
- Assure the continued assistance of availability to uninsured and underinsured in Oklahoma.
- Serve as a resource for pharmaceutical benefit issues.
- Coordinate resources with Rx for Oklahoma and other agencies to increase awareness of legal discount medication programs available to all Oklahomans.
- Communicate information to government officials and advocacy groups.
- Continue to proactively review and consider taking a position on pending legislation relating to prescription access and affordability for all Oklahomans.
The Rx for Oklahoma program, including information on the Oklahoma Pharmacy Connection Council, is on the OKDHS website as a link. The State statute requires posting of this report on the OKDHS website as follows: http://www.okdhs.org/. The Council Co-chairs also requested members to post the report on their organizations’ web pages.
Respectfully submitted by:
Mary B. Buckner, DPh, Council Co-Chair, OKDHS
Justin Wilson, PharmD, Council Co-chair, OPHA
Jane Garner, Staff Liaison, OKDHS Aging Services Division