Pictured above: The staff of NOVA ScriptsCentral serves the patients of 26 safety-net clinics throughout northern Virginia.
NOVA ScriptsCentral (NSC), a nonprofit pharmacy serving 26 safety-net clinics throughout northern Virginia, provides more than free or low-cost prescriptions for uninsured children and adults. According to Interim Executive Director Donney John, PharmD, the nonprofit pharmacy partners with each clinic to provide patient-centered care.
Since 2007, NSC has been able to provide $30 million worth of medications to the most vulnerable residents of Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax/Falls Church, Loudoun, and Prince William, Va. The need for these prescriptions and care continues.
“There is a big demand for medication access. The only way the majority of [uninsured] patients get medications is through NOVA Scripts,” said John, a practicing pharmacist, healthcare consultant, and entrepreneur. “Without us, patients would have no access to life-saving medications such as prescription inhalers, insulin, or other chronic disease meds.”
This program, in which multiple safety-net clinics share one pharmacy, is unique to Virginia and the metropolitan area at this time, but it could serve as a national model for prescription access for the uninsured.
“We want to share best practices and some of the struggles that we have had and overcome to help others who want to start a charitable nonprofit pharmacy [such as NSC],” John said.
For the past seven years, NSC has grown from a full-time staff of four employees assisted by volunteers to a staff of eight, including one full-time and one part-time pharmacist and two pharmacy technicians. NSC staff work directly with medical staff at the partner clinics, filling prescriptions for brand-name and generic medications indicated for most chronic diseases, including mental health conditions and HIV. NSC also offers patient counseling by telephone and supplies clinic staff with talking points to relay to patients about new drugs.