Scott Morris, the founder of the Church Health Center, often says this: "The best diagnosis in the world doesn't do you any good if you can't afford your medicine."
The pharmacy currently serves Methodist outpatients and associates, but it will expand in coming months to serve Church Health Center patients, Methodist Teaching Practice patients, and then the 3,000 workers and their dependents under the Church Health Center's MEMPHIS plan. The eventual goal is to open the pharmacy to others who lack access to affordable prescriptions.
"What we bring to the table is the ability to collect donated medications," says Marvin Stockwell, the Church Health Center's PR manager.
Currently, the Church Health Center has a dispensary where patients can receive medications for a small handling fee. However, MEMPHIS plan patients, who see doctors outside the Church Health Center, were not legally allowed to get medications dispensed from the Church Health Center.
"For the first time, we can offer robust pharmacy options for our MEMPHIS Plan patients," Stockwell says. "Patients will also be able to get a wider variety of drugs. ... In the past, Church Health Center patients were able to get some drugs at the dispensary, but more often than not, they'd have to receive a prescription to get medication we haven't had."
To keep costs down, the Church Health Center has rolled out its "1 in 3 for the CHC" program, which asks doctors to donate one out of every three pharmaceutical samples they get to the center. They also hope the partnership will mean more help from pharmaceutical companies.
“Our new joint ministry will enable the Church Health Center and Methodist University Hospital to care for more people while providing better service,” Morris says. “This will mean we need greater support from pharmaceutical companies that have already been very generous to us in the past. I am confident we will have their support.”