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Raleigh, N.C. - The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) today announced it has received a $773,728 grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to provide free and/or low-cost prescription drugs in rural counties over the next 12 months. DHHS' Office of Rural Health and Community Care will administer the grant through the state's Medication Assistance Program to provide approximately $22 million in medication to residents in at least 18 of the state's most economically distressed counties.
"Access to prescription medication is a critical part of meeting the primary care needs of low-income North Carolinians, many of whom have long-term and chronic health conditions," said Dr. Robin Cummings, DHHS Deputy Secretary of Health Services. "With this additional funding, we can expand access to much needed medication and improve the quality of life for many local residents, particularly in underserved rural areas of our North Carolina."
The grant funds are in addition to the $1.7 million that the recently signed budget provided for the Medication Assistance Program. The program supports organizations such as rural health centers, free clinics, community health centers, hospitals, senior centers, and health departments by helping patients receive free or low cost medications necessary for long-term or chronic disease treatment. Through this statewide program, residents in 75 counties are expected to receive an anticipated $135 million in free medications this year through pharmaceutical manufacturing programs.
The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust has been a longtime supporter of the Medication Assistance Program and currently supports grantees in 18 counties* identified as economically distressed, or Tier One counties, by the N.C. Department of Commerce.
The DHHS Office of Rural Health and Community Care assists underserved communities and populations to develop innovative strategies to increase access, quality, and cost-effectiveness of health care for all. The office, founded in 1973 by Governor Jim Holshouser, has served millions of people in underserved areas of the state by recruiting health care providers, supporting rural health centers and hospitals with grant funding and technical support, and subsidizing care and medication for low income and uninsured North Carolinians.
The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust was established in 1947 to improve the quality of life and quality of health for the financially needy of North Carolina.
*Counties currently served by Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust funding for the Medication Assistance Program include: Beaufort, Bladen, Burke, Caldwell, Clay, Halifax, Northampton, Hertford, Lenoir, McDowell, Mitchell, Yancey, Montgomery, Moore, Rockingham, Rutherford, Surry and Wilkes.