Research shows that community charity pharmacies are playing a role in a qualitative and cost savings difference for these patients who are served. In 2015, a pre-post analysis was completed by the Advisory Board Company that looked at the work of a charity pharmacy. That study demonstrates cost avoidance impact related to medication access, specifically on the costs of hospital care for the uninsured.
Total inpatient encounters decreased 37% from 219 to 137 while average length of stay decreased by 19% from 7 to 5.7 days. Overall cost per encounter was reduced 20% from $7,500 to $ 6,000. The average length of stay decreased from 7 to 5.7 days. Total emergency department visit use decreased 3% from 212 to 205 visits with a 54% reduction in cost per encounter from $288 to $132. The implied savings per 1000 patient lives totals $2.1M with $2 million for inpatient visits and $80,000 associated with emergency department visits. The takeaway is that community charity pharmacies are playing a role in cost savings difference and outcomes difference.
Since this is a population that represents only cost to a hospital (reimbursement is very low among the poor and uninsured, and sometimes not even worth pursuing for financial and for risk reasons), a healthier uninsured population means savings for a hospital and for insurers.