Meet Our Expert: O’Mally Monahan Discusses Untapped Benefits of Patient Assistance Programs

How PAP can positively affect value-based care measures within a health system pharmacy.

Read time: 5 minutes

By: McKesson Editorial Team

O’Mally Monahan, MPH, Vice President of Operations at McKesson RxO, discusses how patient assistant programs can help health systems tap into potential benefits, including patient access and reduced treatment delays.

Q: What are the elements of an effective patient assistance program?

A: McKesson’s patient assistance program can maximize health system value and bring more access and affordability to patients. An effective patient assistance program (PAP) is about people, technology, and expertise.

You need a dedicated team of people to effectively support PAP efforts. At McKesson, these integral team members are called patient advocates. When patients’ lives are at stake and medication access is necessary, you want an influential patient advocate who will fight to get the patient the care they deserve. Patient advocates also need to be experts in their field. Each program may have different requirements and processes to follow in order for a patient to receive approval.

In addition to advocacy, the right technology needs to be in place to help you stay compliant, maximize value, and measure success. Document your success to show the value PAPs can bring to your organization.

Q: How can patients benefit from patient assistance programs?

A: Patient assistance programs offer a lifeline to those who lack coverage to life-saving medication. According to Kaiser Family Foundation, 27% of uninsured adults reported delaying or not receiving care due to costs.1 When a patient is enrolled in a patient assistance program, they have access to medication they otherwise would not. If a patient has insurance but is considered functionally uninsured, a patient assistance program can make treatment more affordable. Patients shouldn’t have to choose between treatment and basic life necessities.

Q: Why is it important to identify patients who need these programs ahead of treatment?

A: Today, about 30 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured, and according to a recent study by the American Heart Association, medication costs and copayments are directly associated to adherence.2 Patients who have access to the medication are more likely to stay on treatment. I'll say historically, patient assistance programs looked at opportunity more retrospective, so after a patient was treated, they were then able to be enrolled into a program. Now patients want to know what's available to help reduce their financial burden prior to treatment.

Q: What is McKesson’s First Dose technology and how can it help to streamline identifying patients for the patient assistance programs?

A: McKesson’s first dose technology integrates scheduling data into the PAP identification workflow. This can benefit the patient assistance workflow by identifying opportunities prospectively rather than retrospectively. Health systems are then better able to understand what patients qualify for beforehand. The first dose technology allows patients to be more aware of the programs that are out there and thus move forward with treatment. It can help with adherence as well.

Ready to learn more? McKesson has a range of options that can help maximize the value PAP brings to your organization, from a full-service start-to-finish approach to a focused program by service area, and even an audit readiness option.

To learn more about McKesson’s patient assistance program and how it can help your health systems achieve more, visit our page.

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