Care Connection coordinates of diagnostic testing, specialty consults, and surgical care for low-income (not above 200% FPL), uninsured patients of HAU partner safety-net clinics in Oklahoma County. Safety-net clinics include free/charitable clinics and federally qualified health centers, also called community health centers, that have a memorandum of understanding with HAU. This agreement specifies appropriate screening of clinic patients, establishes standards of clinic governance and operations, and outlines referral protocols.
HAU staff, including a physician medical director, nurses and bilingual referral coordinator, work diligently to ensure the medical necessity of each referral request and to provide access to needed services in a timely manner. This process values the needs of the patient and the commitment of physicians, hospitals and other entities that are donating their services. In 2013, 2,771 patients were assisted.
Core strengths of the Care Connection program include the close working relationships developed with safety-net clinics, the tremendous value of donated health care services, and the professionalism of HAU staff and volunteers.
HAU continues to expand resources to address unmet needs by the target population. This includes recruitment of additional physician specialists, diagnostic imaging, and hospital services.
Cooperative Central Pharmacy
HAU and Oklahoma County Social Services partner to provide bulk prescription medications to free/charitable clinics in Oklahoma County so that acute illnesses are treated at the time the patient is diagnosed. Clinics are asked to prescribe low-cost medications for patients that can afford $4 per prescription per month or $10 for a 90-day supply, thus saving bulk medications for those unable to pay that amount.
The third aspect of the program places HAU medication access staff onsite in charitable clinics to enroll patients in pharmaceutical company assistance programs. A one-year supply of certain medications can be obtained for eligible patients. This is most helpful with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and lung diseases.
The core strength of the Cooperative Central Pharmacy is the strong return on investment. The bulk medication component demonstrates a $10 average wholesale value for each $1 HAU dedicates to it due to the purchasing power of Oklahoma County Social Services. HAU’s 1.5 FTE medication access field staff secured $301,565 in insulins, $96,782 in inhalers, and $211,170 in other medications, for a total of $609,517 during 2013. In 2014, that amount was almost doubled: Insulin $700,780.98, Inhalers $85,552.61, Hep C Meds $229,679.06, and other medications $112,584.92 for a total of $1,128,597.57.