November 30, 2011

Plain Dealer highlights St. Vincent Charity Medical Center’s prescription assistance program

As a complement to a recent story about all area health systems’ community benefit contributions, which noted the Sisters of Charity Health System's collective annual community benefit of $54.6 million, The Plain Dealer has highlighted St. Vincent Charity Medical Center’s prescription assistance program.

St. Vincent's pharmacy program helps needy
Published: Friday, November 25, 2011
By Sarah Jane Tribble, The Plain Dealer
The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland State University student Bronson Peshlakai realized he had a problem when he ate a piece of chocolate cake and felt lethargic.

"My arms felt so heavy," he said holding them up like dead weights.

Peshlakai, 35, struggles daily to keep his Type 2 diabetes under control. Out of work and living with a friend, Peshlakai tried to manage his diabetes with portion control and a good diet.

That failed. He began to lose weight, felt a constant urge to pee and would frequently have trouble catching his breath. Eventually, he found himself at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.

"My first visit here, I felt like a king," Peshlakai said. "There were so many people in the room."

Peshlakai became part of St. Vincent's prescription assistance program, which helps patients find the right discount offers by submitting applications to multiple drug companies. Since August 2011, the program has submitted 124 applications for 55 patients and saved a total of $49,418.89.

Jodie Turosky, the director of pharmaceutical care at St. Vincent's, said with a wink during a recent meeting with Peshlakai that enrollees do get the free prescriptions but "they don't get to escape that easily."

Along with the medications -- which include insulin that normally costs at least $400 a month -- Peshlakai receives free care from the doctors and medical workers at the health system as well as free diabetic education. In all, he benefits from at least three programs that are part of the total $54.6 million Sisters of Charity Health System spent on community benefit last year.

Peshlakai, who is now a full-time student, said he has been treated by other health care providers in the past but the care has never been this holistic.

"The staff has been so supportive here, I feel the need to really tackle this issue with myself," Peshlakai said.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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