The St. Vincent de Paul of North Texas pharmacy program has provided more than $3.4M in free prescriptions to North Texans in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since March 2020, the nonprofit's pharmacy has served nearly 1,000 patients. This was an average of 400 prescriptions filled per week.
Michael Pazzaglini, Chief Executive Officer Society St Vincent de Paul of North Texas, said the pharmacy is a lifeline for so many in North Texas since 2018.
“We saw that we had a systemic issue around medications and thought if we could solve that problem, keep people healthy, we may be able to forego them needing emergency assistance down the road. That helped us launch a plan for the pharmacy in the spring of 2018,” he said. “The pharmacy department came out in our efforts around our main mission which is emergency help for those in need. We do visits where we go out to people’s homes and learn more about what they need and who we can best serve them.”
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The road to getting the pharmacy up and running hasn’t been easy, with legislation changes necessary to make it a reality.
“We actually had to work with a state legislator to get the law changed to allow for a free-standing pharmacy. It’s a nuance. Up until that point, if you had a pharmacy that you wanted to get running, then you had to associate it with a clinic. Patients would go to a clinic and get diagnosed, then get the prescription filled by the clinic. The change in the law allowed us to put a free-standing pharmacy in place independent of the clinic allowing us to serve multiple clinics and multiple people,” he said.
The pharmacy is on track to fill 35,000 prescriptions this year. They attribute that growth to more awareness of the program and the fact that eligibility requirements increased from 200% to 300% of the federal poverty level.
People who are uninsured, meet an income level threshold, Texas residents and have a valid prescription can fill out an online form or walk into their Vickery Meadows location at 5750 Pineland Drive, #280 in Dallas for more assistance.