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Pharmacy Stipend Program Report – 4th Cycle

The Fourth Cycle of FHBS’s Pharmacy Stipend Program began on September 1, 2014 with a total of 27 participants, each receiving a monthly $50 gift card through February 1, 2015. Stipends are to be used for uncovered medical expenses. Funding came from The Legacy Fund of Suburban JCC Bnai Aaron ($6,700), the family of former board member Lillian Tabas, z”l ($500) and an FHBS board member ($300). The balance of $560 came from non-directed, general contributions.

Sixteen women from the third cycle were eligible for renewal. One was described as “non-compliant” by her care manager, and another used only a small amount of her stipend held at a private pharmacy. Both were discontinued. Fourteen women were renewed, and 13 were added. Of these 13, nine were never before assisted by FHBS.

Eighteen of these women live in Philadelphia with nine in surrounding suburbs including Bala Cynwyd, Broomall, Doylestown, Fairless Hills, Jenkintown, Havertown, Merion, Narberth and Trevose. They range in age from 33 to 90 with almost equal numbers of women in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. Eight are married, four are divorced, one is separated, seven are widows and seven are single, never married. There are six minor children in three households; 13 households have two adults.

Primary sources of income include employment, alimony, SSD, SS and Survivor’s Benefits. Seventeen households receive various public entitlements. According to the 2014 Federal Poverty Level Guidelines, three households live at 100% or lower, 11 at 150%, 11 at 200 % and two at 200%+. A single person classified at 100% subsists on an annual income of $11,670 or less, two persons at $15,730 or less, etc.

Referrals came from Heart to Heart at Klein JCC, JFCS Departments of Care Management, Senior Services and Orthodox Services. Pharmacies include Acme, CVS, Pathmark, RiteAid, Target, Walgreens, Walmart and five independent stores.

This program, initiated with contributions in memory of Lillian Tabas and continued for three additional cycles through the generosity of The Legacy Fund of Suburban JCC Bnai Aaron, has impacted on the lives of 54 different women, as indicated by this note from Ellen D.: Dear Ladies, You can’t know how very thrilled I am to continue being a part of this great program. It’s really wonderful and so welcome!! Thank you very, very much.

Following are snapshots of two clients who benefited from a pharmacy stipend during the fourth cycle of the program:

Jodi B is a 57-year-old, single woman who lives on $1,212 per month, including SSD, SNAP and a $10 salary. Jodi has Hepatitis C and several years ago underwent a liver transplant. MAWD (Medical Assistance) requires her to pay only $65/month for health care, and her prescription meds, which are quite expensive, are covered. She shared an apartment with a brother who passed away. The condo was sold at Sheriff’s Sale, forcing Jodi to find new housing. JFCS helped with the moving expenses. Jodi uses an assortment of OTC medications, e.g. pills for low blood sugar, to keep her physical condition in balance. The pharmacy stipend card will help with these items. Unlike most of our clients, she has another brother who co-signed her lease and is committed to helping her meet expenses to the extent he is able.

Rachel F is a 63-year-old, married woman who is the sole caretaker for her 67-year old husband. She never worked, and the couple lives on his SS and SNAP, about $1,640 monthly. They owe $6,119 to doctors and hospitals. Rachel’s husband, who is home bound, has Parkinson’s Disease, early onset dementia and depression. She has arthritis and takes OTC anti-inflammatory medications and vitamins for which she will use her stipend. There are adult children, but they do not live in the area and are unable to help.

Written by Eileen S. Sklaroff