AstraZeneca’s patient assistance programs have provided millions of people throughout the U.S. with free medicine for more than three decades. These programs, however, cannot be successful without the support of partners such as AmeriCares, the American Association of Service Coordinators and other patient foundations and clinics that work tirelessly to ensure that the people they serve are aware of and utilizing the services and resources available to help them afford their medications.
On Friday, March 7, AstraZeneca’s director of patient assistance programs, Jen McGovern, along with President and CEO of the American Association of Service Coordinators Janice Monks and AmeriCares Director of U.S. Medical Assistance Leslie McGuire, participated in a panel discussion at CBI’s PAP 2014 annual meeting in Baltimore, Md. titled: Gaining Access to Medicines for Varying Patient Populations – Areas of Need for Patient Assistance Programs. The panelists addressed topics critical to their organizations and to the continuity of patient assistance programs for the individuals they serve.
As the U.S. health system continues to evolve as a result of healthcare reform – from Medicaid expansion to the implementation of healthcare exchanges and other changes arising from the Affordable Care Act – those involved in patient assistance are working to evaluate how these changes are impacting their programs, and are looking for ways to address new challenges. While the need for patient assistance remains, organizations and clinics must adapt.
In addition to the impact of healthcare reform on the organizations that offer and support patient assistance programs, the panelists also discussed changes and emerging trends among the specific patient populations they serve. For example, organizations and clinics are starting to see more patients with coverage through Medicaid expansion or through the exchanges. As a result, many of these patients (who have traditionally been unfamiliar with insurance processes) now need additional patient advocacy services to help them better understand their benefits, how to navigate through them, and where additional support services may be needed.
The panelists also discussed the synergies between their respective organizations and how they are working together to improve access to medication and care for patients, including by leveraging their networks to raise visibility around patient assistance programs so qualified participants nationwide can continue to take advantage of the benefits they deliver.