Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Governor Beshear Announces Creation of Kentucky Prescription Assistance Program

Press Release Date:  Friday, October 31, 2008  
Contact Information:  Jay Blanton, 502-564-2611
Vikki Franklin, 502-564-7042

Program will aid needy Kentuckians in locating free or reduced cost prescription drugs

FRANKFORT, Ky. – At a news conference today, Gov. Steve Beshear announced a new program to aid eligible Kentuckians in locating free or reduced cost prescription drugs.  The Kentucky Prescription Assistance Program (KPAP), an innovative initiative to utilize and coordinate existing assistance programs offered by pharmaceutical companies, will be coordinated by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).

“It is vitally important that we provide all the assistance we can to Kentucky citizens who are unable to afford the prescription drugs they need, especially in these tough times,” said Gov. Beshear.  “The new program will be an important step toward empowering and expanding community-based efforts to make it easier for Kentuckians who qualify to obtain free or reduced cost sources of prescription drugs that may prevent or manage illnesses, and even save lives.”

The General Assembly appropriated $400,000 in fiscal year 2008-2009 and $600,000 in fiscal year 2009-2010 to consolidate and coordinate existing efforts around the state aimed at connecting needy individuals — such as those near the federal poverty level or seniors in the so-called “doughnut hole” of Medicare Part D — with prescription medications.  After reviewing existing programs across the state, CHFS identified a model program run by HEART USA, a 501(c)3 volunteer organization in Paducah.  The KPAP expands this model program statewide, adding enhanced computer-assisted technology to allow for reduced paperwork and a streamlined process to increase public access to sources of free and low-cost medications.

“Not only will we saves lives, but we also will avoid the higher cost of caring for those individuals who are unable to buy their medications and do without them until they become so sick they must seek medical care through our emergency rooms,” said Rep. Jimmie Lee, D-Elizabethtown, who was instrumental in securing funding for KPAP.  “This coordinated program will become, in my view, a national model for other states to follow.”

To launch the program, CHFS will collaborate with medical and social service stakeholders while empowering interested community members to identify resources and determine how the community can best assist citizens with their KPAP needs.  Each participating county will have a designated community site where individuals can access the program.  The cabinet will provide computer software that determines eligibility and connects individuals with prescription drug sources, training on use of the software, training on volunteer and physician recruitment and program troubleshooting.

Patients will be able to access the community program in their area through referrals by physicians or social services, or on their own.  Individuals whose income or resource levels make them ineligible for existing drug assistance programs through pharmaceutical manufacturers will receive consultation about other sources of low-cost prescriptions, such as $4 prescription programs at pharmacies.

The program rollout will begin with a technology training and community organization process later this year.  Physician recruitment and volunteer recruitment will occur during January and February, with the full launch of the program in March 2009.  Initially, the program is expected to include approximately 90 counties, with more sites being added as CHFS works with communities.

“During these tough economic times, we want to help Kentuckians who are having trouble affording necessary prescriptions as much as we possibly can.  We are proud to play a role in creating a network of community resources to tap into existing sources of free and low-cost drugs for eligible Kentuckians who need them,” said CHFS Secretary Janie Miller.

For more information about volunteering and training in the KPAP program, call 1-800-633-8100.


Listen to Gov. Beshear's remarks at the press conference (3.17MB MP3)