NOVA ScriptsCentral Expands Prescription Drug Service with Help from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

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Managing Chronic Disease a Major Factor in Reducing Health Care Costs

Taking better care of individuals with chronic diseases who also have limited financial means pays off in many ways. Improving the health of residents of the area is the greatest benefit. And when chronic conditions are better managed, it can help lighten the burden on emergency rooms and reduce their amount of uncompensated care. This benefits the community as a whole.

NOVA ScriptsCentral (NSC), Inc., with help from a $250,000 grant by CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst), aims to expand its operations in 2009 to meet the rising demand for prescription medication among lower income and uninsured residents in Northern Virginia. Many NSC clients are among the 125 million Americans suffering from chronic diseases. Alarmingly, NOVA ScriptsCentral clients are at greater risk of missing life-sustaining treatments than most if they are unable to afford proper medications.

JoAnn Pearson Knox, Executive Director for NSC, said, "NOVA ScriptsCentral has provided more than 25,000 months of medications for the 35 most common chronic diseases in our first 18 months of operation. We expect even more Northern Virginia residents to need our support in 2009 as the effects of economic hardship persist. Our partnership with CareFirst helps us enhance our ability to meet our clients' needs and continue work toward our broader goals -- to increase safety in medication use and improve accessibility through cost efficiencies."

A recent report issued by the Center for Studying Health System Change estimates that one in five Americans ages 19 to 64 is at risk of not filling a prescription due to prohibitive cost. NSC utilizes a central pharmacy model; whereby, medications are distributed based on areas of greatest need through its partnering safety net clinics. For every $1 invested in NSC $34 in prescription services are returned to the community.

Chet Burrell, President and CEO of CareFirst said, "Taking better care of individuals with chronic diseases who also have limited financial means pays off in many ways. Improving the health of residents of the area is the greatest benefit. And when chronic conditions are better managed, it can help lighten the burden on emergency rooms and reduce their amount of uncompensated care. This benefits the community as a whole."

Northern Virginia has 190,000 residents at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Improvements made in this segment of the population can significantly help shape the overall success of health care for the region.

Proper use of medications by patients and effective provider utilization of e-prescribing are major objectives for NSC. Without the emphasis on proper use, some patients may do more harm than good. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) recently estimated the cost of patient error at $177 billion per year to the U.S. health care system.

NOVA ScriptsCentral utilizes a list of 350 approved medications. These prescription drugs support treatment for more than 35 chronic diseases -- such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, depression, epilepsy, heart disease, Parkinson's disease, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, glaucoma, sickle cell disease, allergies, migraines and thyroid disorder. Approximately 85 percent of the medications used are generics purchased by NSC and 15 percent are donated brand-name pharmaceuticals received through partnerships with Rx Partnership and AstraZeneca.

NOVA ScriptsCentral is a nonprofit collaborative pharmacy whose mission is to provide quality pharmaceutical care as an integral component of health care for the most vulnerable of our neighbors - the uninsured working poor and their children. It is the only stand-alone nonprofit pharmacy in the nation integrating the valuable resources of the clinical pharmacist into the health care homes of the low-income uninsured and embracing the use of e-prescribing to enhance prescription safety.

In its 72nd year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health care organization which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.4 million individuals and groups in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. Through its CareFirst Commitment initiative and other public mission activities, CareFirst supports efforts to increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of health care throughout its market areas.

Contact:
Kevin Kane
CareFirst
1-800-914-6397
mediarelations (at) carefirst.com

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Kevin Kane
CareFirst
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