Growing the Charity Pharmacy Practice

Within the area the charity pharmacy practice serves (neighborhood, community, county, state) a need has been determined that you, as a charity pharmacy, are meeting. Affordable medication access is a major need, but you as well as healthcare, government and other leaders in your area, may have identified other needs for which your charity pharmacy is in position to help address. Patient self-managementprograms for chronic diseases include hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and mental and behavioral health. Healthy living programs include smoking cessation, nutrition, physical activity, and social/emotional wellness. Collaboration with free clinicsoffers a multi-disciplinary approach to healthcare, allowing the pharmacist to offer clinical services, either as a volunteer or as part of the healthcare team. Providing medication to discharge patients, delivering to patient bedside or home, helps hospitals ensure patients have the medication needed to decrease readmissions. Data collection may lead to grant opportunities as well as improving the lives of patients. See Collaborative Practice for establishing a collaborative practice and Services Offered and Special Populations and Transitions of Care/Handoffsfor services pharmacists offer at charity pharmacies to better meet the needs of their patients and the community.

David Neu, Pharm D and Saint Thomas Health offer:

Top 10 Ways to Grow Your Charity Pharmacy Volume

#10 Educate referring providers (depending on location):

  • ED practitioners
  • Hospitalists
  • Any other practices that could benefit (ambulatory infusion, dialysis, oncology, etc.)

#9 Marketing Materials

  • Pamphlets, posters, handouts, flyers

#8 Educate decentralized and ambulatory care Pharmacists to educate/refer patients

  • When verifying home meds or allergies
  • When providing patient education (CHF, COPD, etc.)
  • Ask the question ofmedication affordability

#7 Educate case management, social workers

  • Ask patients early in their hospital stay if they can afford medications 
  • Review income criteria/application/qualification process
  • Invite to spend time or tour the pharmacy
  • Free coupon until med available at charitable pharmacy, changed to one that is accessible, or acquired through PAP
  • For insured patients, coupon and copay reduction vouchers

#6 Educate financial counselors in hospitals and clinics

  • Income criteria/application/qualification process 
  • These counselors are talking to self-pay patients prior to discharge and regularly at clinics

#5 Associated ANDNon-Associated Clinics 

  • Any in proximity?

#4 Community agencies 

(Helping Hand, Community Helper, Housing Authority, Immigration services, thrift shops, food pantries, etc.)

  • Create mutual referrals
  • Community agencies may be able to pay for utility bills or rent but not help a patient with medication needs
  • A charity pharmacy can help a patient with Medication Access but can’t pay utility bills or rent

#3 Area Hospitals

  • Network with social workers, case managers, financial counsellors

TIP:Patient referrals are one of the biggest referral sources outside patient discharges.”David Neu, Pharm D, Executive Director of Pharmacy, STH

#2 Local Churches and Places of Worship

#1 Word of Mouth

  • Charity pharmacy patients are one of the best referral sources for new patients
  • They know firsthand the benefit of services
  • They know friends, family, neighbors, parishioners that could be helped
  • Ask patients to tell others, and their places of worship, the story of how they were helped by the charitable pharmacy. 

For more ideas to help grow, check Fund Development Decision Tree