An estimated $290 billion is wasted annually on emergency room visits, extended hospital stays, and other medical expenditures, totaling 13 percent of all U.S. health care expenditures, simply because of people not taking their medications properly, according to a recent report by the New England Healthcare Institute.
Hoping to better educate people about the medicines they take and the importance of establishing relationships with their pharmacists, Kinney Drugs says it is making an effort to ensure that people’s health care and medication use is as safe and effective as possible.
“Compliance is driven by access and affordability, and it’s easy to be non-compliant when people have to make purchasing decisions, they can’t get to the pharmacy, or they are not fully informed about their medication,” said pharmacist Mike Duteau, director of pharmacy operations at Kinney Drugs.
“Pharmacists can make it easier for people to understand their heath care and the value of taking medications as prescribed by their doctors. It’s important to know your medicine and your pharmacist,” said Duteau.
Kinney’s points out that throughout the year, they offer a number of free or low-cost programs to educate the communities it serves about managing prescriptions and health care, and making them more affordable and accessible:
• Free consultation: In addition to consulting patients on prescription medications, Kinney pharmacists can help people better understand Medicare Part D and which insurance plan makes the most sense based on medication history. Pharmacists can also provide free advice on which over-the-counter medications people should take based on individual health issues and current medications.
• Flu immunizations: To help increase access to flu immunizations, Kinney Drugs pharmacists are administering immunizations for seasonal flu (including H1N1) at their stores by appointment, increasing convenience for customers and helping keep people healthy and reduce health care costs.
• Automatic refills: The ReadyScripts program allows customers to automatically have prescriptions refilled ahead of time so they are ready for them to pick up with no waiting. Automatic refills are convenient and help improve consistency and increase compliance rates. The ReadyScripts program complements other programs such as EzRefill online refills, EZ Transfer from other pharmacies, and free prescription delivery.
• e-prescribing allows doctors to electronically submit prescriptions to Kinney Drugs to reduce delays, improve accuracy and increase quality control.
• Discount prescription plans: The KinneyCare Discount Prescription Plan makes medications more affordable and helps people who do not have prescription insurance or are under-insured obtain prescriptions at affordable prices. The plan has more than 350 generic prescriptions available to treat the most common conditions and illnesses. They cost just $11.99 for a 90-day supply, or less than 14 cents a day. A $10 annual enrollment fee per family applies.
• The ProAct Discount Prescription Program is based on a partnership between ProAct Inc., a division of Kinney Drugs, and 35 counties throughout New York State. The free program helps lower prescription drug costs to make them more affordable for county residents. There is no registration required and any county resident, regardless of age, is eligible to receive a free card, which covers all brand or generic prescription medications.
• Medication disposal: Medicine collection events are held at Kinney Drugs throughout the year to give the public a free opportunity to dispose of unwanted medications in a safe, environmentally friendly manner.