Community clinic expands service

Recent renovations of the Lafayette Community Health Care Clinic will help broaden pharmacy services to people in need in Acadiana.

The clinic’s Community Pharmacy dispensed 20,722 prescriptions to patients in Acadiana in 2011. The pharmacy will reach more patients in the coming year as it begins delivery services to outlying parishes.

The pharmacy provides free prescriptions and medication to the working poor without health insurance, the underinsured and the uninsured.

“In the next year, we’ll start remote delivery services to assist those elderly people who can’t make the drive to Lafayette,” said Jeanette Alcon, clinic executive director. “We’re working with 13 community sites that we’ve partnered with for the remote delivery service.”

The prescription delivery service is being tested in Acadia Parish in partnership with the ASSIST Agency.

Donations and prescription assistance programs help supply the pharmacy. In 2011, prescriptions valued at nearly $2 million were dispensed by the Community Pharmacy. More than $550,000 in medication was from pharmaceutical companies’ prescription assistance programs, which provide medications at either no- or low-cost to qualified applicants.

The renovations provided more space to operate the pharmacy services, including additional room for volunteers to fill out the required paperwork for the prescription assistance programs on behalf of Community Pharmacy clients.

To make more room in the pharmacy area, the waiting area shared by the dental clinic and pharmacy was moved to create a centralized waiting room near the clinic’s front entrance and its information desk.

The pharmacy is part of the clinic, which offers medical and dental services to the working uninsured.

The clinic received a Community Development Block Grant worth about $262,000 from Lafayette Consolidated Government for the renovations, which began in July. The renovation work also created a new administrative area and fixed a rutted parking lot.

On Tuesday, Gary Alexander, 48, Lafayette, was one of several people waiting for his prescriptions to be filled by the Community Pharmacy. Alexander, who has used the pharmacy’s services for the past six years, was recently diagnosed with bronchitis and the prescription would have cost him $200, he said.

“I couldn’t afford that,” said Alexander, who is unemployed since being hurt offshore. “I really don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t come here.”

Jeanne LeBouef, 68, Carencro, fills five medications that treat her high blood pressure, heartburn and other ailments at no charge through the Community Pharmacy.

She uses some discount services offered by pharmaceutical companies for her insulin, which she receives through University Medical Center.

Another nonprofit helps her receive another medication at a discount rate.

“I live on Social Security and don’t have the Medicare for prescriptions only hospitalizations, because I couldn’t afford it,” LeBouef said. “I couldn’t make ends meet.”

Alcon said the clinic is trying to reach more people in Acadiana who need help with their medications and build support for its outreach. Many people think that the Community Pharmacy only serves the working poor in Lafayette Parish, which is the targeted group for the medical and dental services.

But, the pharmacy service extends outside of Lafayette Parish to Acadiana residents who are also underinsured or uninsured, she said.

“Our major goal is to introduce this community to what we do and develop mission-based donors,” Alcon said.