Massachusetts Pharmacists Provide Critical Service to Seniors

Massachusetts pharmacists are partnering with the state’s Executive Office of Elder Affairs to provide confidential and free counseling to patients with questions about prescription drug coverage. The program, called the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) Pharmacy Outreach Program, was recently awarded a $3-million, 5-year contract to continue its “Ask the Pharmacist” initiative.

The program’s success illustrates the tremendous value of pharmacists’ knowledge in helping patients navigate the considerable hurdles of Medicare. “Many Massachusetts residents rely upon this program, and the information that its talented team of pharmacists and case managers provide, to help get access to the medications they need,” said Dennis G. Lyons, BSP, RPh, vice president of the Worcester and Manchester Campuses for MCPHS.

Patients can call a hotline, submit a query at www.massmedline.com, or visit the program’s offices in Worcester, Massachussetts for an in-person consultation. A popular topic of discussion (and confusion) is the Medicare Part D coverage gap, according to the program’s director, Mary B. Sullivan, PharmD. MCPHS pharmacists work with callers to assess their needs and determine what types of alternative assistance they may be eligible for. “We answer many, many inquiries about how to get coverage and what options are best as well as walk residents through the eligibility requirements and application process of the various programs,” Dr. Sullivan said.

MCPHS also educates seniors about how to take and dispose of medications, how to minimize side effects, and how to reduce the potential of drug interactions when taking multiple medications. “Without this program, we know there are many seniors who would go without life-sustaining medications,” said Lyons. “We are proud to partner with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs on delivering this unique and important service.”