Article Text

  1. J. K. Shields
  1. University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA


Purpose The high cost of health care makes health maintenance unattainable for a significant portion of the population. Lack of medication coverage is often cited as a cause of poor adherence to medical recommendations. A lecture and small group discussion was designed to educate doctors and health care providers about patient assistance programs (PAPs) that provide prescription medication for free or at a reduced cost.

Methods The need for PAPs and the need for providers' education about such programs were assessed. Applicable PAPs were located and an “easy reference guide” was compiled. A PowerPoint presentation was given to raise providers' awareness of programs and a plan for implementation of PAPs into everyday practice was outlined. The presentation was followed by a discussion of barriers to PAPs and problem solving on how to overcome those barriers. A critical review of pertinent literature was completed.

Results The cost of prescription medication can lead to poor adherence to medical recommendations. A handout on PAPs was developed and a presentation about implementation of PAPs was given.

Conclusion PAPs can be a useful tool in improving adherence to medical recommendations and improved overall health for patients. However, care providers need to know how to access such programs and overcome the daunting and oftentimes overwhelming application procedures in order to provide such useful services to their patients.

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