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Northern Kentucky free pharmacy moving, expanding

July 3, 2022 GMT

NEWPORT, Ky. (AP) — Faith Community Pharmacy, a nonprofit that for 20 years has provided free prescription medications to Northern Kentucky residents, is moving and expanding.

The pharmacy recently relocated from Florence to Newport, where they have more than three times the space of the former location, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. The pharmacy currently serves about 1,000 patients a year, but they hope the new location will help them bring their services to more people, Executive Director Aaron Broomall said.

Faith Community Pharmacy will provide 90 days of medication to anyone in a 14-county Northern Kentucky area who is seeking the help. It provides medications on an ongoing basis for those earning 300% of the poverty level and below.

Costs of the pharmacy are covered with funding from Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, foundations including the Spaulding Foundation, grants and donations. Most of the medications come from nonprofit Americares.

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For the community, the costs are far offset by better health, Broomall said.

Clients’ emergency room visits drop by at least half from the year before they are enrolled to the first year of enrollment, the nonprofit has found. Hospitalizations drop by 70% based on the entire patient population.

The new office is in a hub of social services, and Broomall said the visibility will bring Faith Community Pharmacy more clients. The new location is also on a bus line – helpful to people with limited transportation options or gas money, and it’s in the urban core of Northern Kentucky, where many of the pharmacy’s clients live.

In recent years, the pharmacy has seen its client base expand from primarily seniors on a fixed income to include the working poor who have either no or inadequate health insurance. The pharmacy’s client base has jumped 60% since 2017, with 30% of that enrollment coming in 2020. The surge has slowed as the pandemic has eased, Broomall said, but enrollment continues to grow.

To bring the service to more people, the organization plans to increase outreach at churches, schools, clinics and emergency and urgent care departments. For rural clients, the pharmacy will even deliver their prescriptions.

Kellee Yelton has been receiving medications for diabetes and hypertension from Faith Community Pharmacy since she lost her job in 2020. Yelton has remained enrolled at the pharmacy even after getting hired eight months ago as a receptionist. She said her high-deductible insurance makes it impossible for her to afford her medications at this time.

“What we do is critical,” Broomall said. “It really allows people to live their lives. What we do allows them to stay at work, provide for their family, be healthy for their kids.”

“It’s hard to be poor,” he said. “It’s hard to have a low income, and it’s really hard to have a chronic illness.”