By Todd Cohen
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — With estimates that more than 40,000 people in Forsyth County lack health insurance, the Kate B. Reynolds Trust in Winston-Salem recognized a need for funding to pay for prescription medicine for low-income people.
So last August, the trust brought together representatives of local groups that already were dispensing prescription drugs to the poor or were aware of their health-care needs.
The session confirmed what the trust already had concluded.
“There was a great need and a lot of the poor did not have the funds they needed, and Medicaid maybe wasn’t covering all their needs,” says Joyce Adger, director of the trust’s Poor and Needy Division.
As it did before it launched a three-year, $900,000 initiative last year to help reduce child obesity in Forsyth County, the division invited groups with existing prescription-medicine programs and other agencies to submit applications for funds, this time for up to $100,000 a year each over three years.
Six groups asked for total of nearly $1.4 million, all of which the foundation now has agreed to fund.
The pharmacy at Crisis Control Ministry, which will get $300,000 over three years, for example, already fills roughly 3,300 prescriptions a month for 650 clients who need life-sustaining medications and are referred by nine other local agencies.
Crisis Control last year provided medications worth $2.1 million for a cost of $200,000.
Other agencies receiving grants are Cancer Services, Community Care Center of Forsyth County, Forsyth County Department of Social Services, Downtown Health Plaza of North Carolina Baptist Hospital, and Partnership for a Drug-Free N.C.
Adger says the trust regularly “evaluates what the needs are and where there might be a role for us to play,” and is likely to launch additional initiatives in the future to address particular needs.
With nearly $530 million in assets, the trust makes grants totaling roughly $22 million a year, one-fourth of it to support the poor and needy in Forsyth County, the remainder to help address the health-care needs of low-income people throughout the state.