indigent programs

Specialties Ambulatory


I would like to know how any other office nurses are handeling the rising number of patients who cannot afford their medicine. I work for a internist/pediatrician so I have young and old. The ones who cannot afford the medicine are my older senior's and my single mothers who are not on public aid. I have several understanding drug reps who supply plenty of "freebies" and will bring extra buy because they know I need it. I also have about twenty patients I have signed up for indigent programs. I am having a hard time keeping everyone straight. I have started a calander and a file on them all, but if they forget to let me know it is time to reorder I am the one in trouble. I have actually thought about limiting my list to ten patients at a time. I would also like to know how to handle the ones who smoke two packs a day, but can't afford their medications, should I say something or should my doctor, should I sign them up anyhow? It just does not seem fair. I would be nice to hear from anyone who has any ideas on how to get myself organized.

I also work with the indigent and their RXs are alwys a problem. We use amny of the phar. co. pt. assistance programs and I always explain to my patients that they are responsible for letting me know when I need to have their meds reordered. This participation on their part is vital to their compliance. You should not be "in trouble" if their rx's dont get reordered.Part of our responsibility as office nurses is to educate our patients on taking care of their health themselves. Good luck.

I believe in patients taking responsibility for managing their own health to the extent that they are able, so the adults who are cognitively able to do so should definitely be held responsible for tracking their own need for refills. The kids with noncompliant moms or the adults with cognitive deficits probably aren't technically your responsibility, either, but I support your efforts to help them!

You didn't ask for resources, but I saw this in the paper today (haven't had a chance to try it yet). It's supposed to provide info. on pharmaceutical manufacturer's programs to provide drugs:

As nurses, one of our responsibilities is patient education. As for the patients who smoke 2 packs a day but cannot afford meds, I think it should be the nurse's duty to speak to the pt about the dangers of smoking, and offer some suggestions on how to quit. Are there any low cost or free smoking cessation programs in your area? Can you get samples of nicotine patches to help them get started?

I also have may patients on indigent programs. I have had a lot of trouble with patients not receiving their free meds in time so they end up in the office either begging samples or angry that they are out. I try to explain to people that all i do is apply for them,I cannot guarantee timely shipment. I think this has brought out a side to these patients I never dreamed. I have had them tell me they will just do without(guilt trip) or question whether I really ordered. I now document ehen I ordered and when I sent in form and when I received. My doctor even wrote a letter to one rude patient accusing me of not doing my job. We are all thinking of dropping program also,very disillusioned-few patients semm grateful after a few months on meds.

We are just now starting to see more and more pts. on the indigent program. Our Council of Aging at the senior center has stepped in to help us out. They keep all of the forms at the center and help the pts. fill them out and then send them to us! They help the pt. keep track of when it is time to renew their forms and that is a tremendous help to us!

Good luck!

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