Taking Care of Our Neighbors (a guest blog)

Ever have a great idea and then do nothing about it?  Well, our guest blogger Christopher Palombo, CEO, the Dispensary of Hope and his team not only had a great idea but are doing something about it. Below, Chris explains their mission and where they are today and where they hope to be in the future.  Please take time not only to read about their work but consider contacting the Dispensary of Hope (see link at the bottom of this post)to see how you can help them meet and/or exceed their lofty goals.                                                            

When it comes to the national healthcare debate, the number of uninsured often comes up. There are 30 million uninsured in the United States.  If you are counting… that’s just about the population of Canada.  It’s a big number, and each one of those numbers is a person – with value, with relationships, and with their own story.

When policymakers, employers, physicians, and healthcare executives talk about the uninsured, they speak as if they are a single, homogeneous demographic bundle. While this discussion touches on ways to reduce the numbers of the uninsured, very little public discussion addresses how to improve health.  We focus on healthcare, policy and numbers… but not the human story, and certainly not the state of their health.

The low-income, uninsured become invisible; difficult for us to absorb their individual lives. Their voices have a hard time piercing the clutter, their stories often untold because they’re just too busy, working, living and managing their lives; some of them praying that they don’t require healthcare services.

The Dispensary of Hope was created to improve health outcomes in this vulnerable population of our country, to help our uninsured friends, family and neighbors by connecting the generosity of pharmaceutical companies with the needs of low-income, uninsured Americans.  Our effort is, thereby, to reduce the overall costs to the healthcare system.

Due to certain idiosyncrasies of pharmaceutical manufacturing, manufactured medicines are destroyed every day. The Dispensary of Hope partners with pharmaceutical manufacturers to make sure some of that surplus reaches people in need, tapping into the core mission of these companies.

A rigorous process of accountability then guides donated medicine to qualified pharmacies and clinics across the country, who in turn dispense the needed medicine to qualified patients, for FREE.  This collaborative model provides access to safe, affordable and effective medicines. Importantly, this access to donated medication has been proven to be a powerful way for communities to improve health outcomes among their uninsured patients and to lower health care costs. The reality is, if you’re uninsured, you’re more likely to be ill, and the acuity of your illness is more likely to be higher. So it makes perfect sense – improve the health of this population and reduce the cost across the system.

Improving health outcomes among the uninsured requires three courses of action: supply the right medicines, supply the right volume, and supply both consistently.  The drug manufacturing community and the Dispensary of Hope Access Site partners have been working towards a national solution to serve the low income, uninsured.  And, we are close… about 50% of the way to our goal of a comprehensive inventory of the most essential pharmaceuticals needed to treat chronic illnesses, provided at the neighborhood level.

In 2016 donations to the Dispensary of Hope filled over 671,000 prescriptions at our 100 site locations around the country.  By 2020 we should reach 1.6 million scripts, and deliver 48 million doses of medication annually to over 250 sites across the country.  Taking care of our neighbors in this powerful way is a big goal… and it takes big collaboration to achieve it.

For more information on the Dispensary of Hope please visit:

http://www.dispensaryofhope.orgwww.dispensaryofhope.org