HEALTH SERVICES

CVS, R.I. Free Clinic announce new partnership

BLOOMBERG FILE PHOTO/AARON M SPRECHER
CVS CAREMARK is now the pharmacy for the Rhode Island Free Clinic.
Posted 9/21/12

PROVIDENCE – CVS Caremark has become the pharmacy for the Rhode Island Free Clinic, dispensing free medicine to more than 2,000 clinic patients at three pharmacy locations – in Cranston, in Central Falls and in Providence, CVS announced Friday.

The clinic, founded in 1999 by Stephanie Chafee, provides free, comprehensive primary care to uninsured, working poor, low-income adults and works with more than 700 volunteer physicians and specialists.

“We’re the safety net for the safety net,” said Marie Ghazal, CEO of the R.I. Free Clinic.

Before the new philanthropic partnership with CVS, the R.I. Free Clinic had managed its own pharmacy on a volunteer basis, dependent upon donations of medicine and volunteer pharmacists and technicians, with limited hours of operation.

Now, under the partnership with CVS, clinic patients can pick up their prescriptions during normal operating hours at the pharmacies.

Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, praised the work of Ghazal and her team at the clinic, telling Providence Business News: “They have done a terrific job helping people who need it.” Many of the patients, he continued, are “people who are out there working every day, but don’t have access or can’t afford access to health care.”

Merlo said that clinic patients will have access to all of the same services that CVS provides to its patients, including prescription adherence efforts. The cost of the program is about $125,000 a year, according to Merlo.

“Everyone deserves health care,” Ghazal told Providence Business News during an interview before the event. “Our patients are the people who have fallen through the cracks, who can’t afford health insurance. These are people who don’t fit into the system. Many are very hard working.”

The clinic leverages more than $2.5 million in additional free medical resources on its annual $1 million budget, according to Ghazal.

The demand to become a clinic patient is so high, Ghazal said, the clinic holds a monthly lottery, at which 25 to 35 patients are chosen. Ghazal correlates the increasing demand with the high unemployment rate in Rhode Island.

“Our patients are often working, but their employer doesn’t provide insurance, or they can’t afford health insurance,” she said. “We’re not making money here. If the total care can be managed, if we can change behavior and make you well, it reduces the costs for everyone.” Without health insurance, Ghazal continued, there is a cost to everything you need to keep someone healthy.

The new partnership was announced at a news conference at the R.I. Free Clinic’s location on Broad Street in Providence, which is a fully licensed Outpatient Ambulatory Care Facility, with seven exam rooms, an ophthalmology unit, a podiatry suite and counseling rooms. Speakers included Ghazal, Merlo, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, Valerie Littlefield, the R.I Free Clinic’s board chair, Dr. Herbert Rakatansky, a physician volunteer and clinic board member, and Trinda Johnson-Prior, a clinic patient.

Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

Two Great Programs...One Great Event. PBN's Annual Celebration of Growth and Innovation is now underway. 2014 applications are now available. Deadline August 1st.
  • 40 Under Forty
    We're almost sold out. The 10th Anniversary of 40 Under Forty, and PBN is planni ...
  • Healthiest Employers
    See who the Healthiest Employers in RI are! And save the date - August 14th - at ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News
    Advertisement