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The Pharmacy Connection

Christy Edmonds, Pharmacy Connection Coordinator for VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital has offered a medication assistance program since 2003. This valuable service is given at no cost to qualifying patients with little to no insurance. The Pharmacy Connection is part of the CMH Foundation’s commitment to the citizens of the communities they serve.

To honor that commitment, they’ve just hired a new Foundation Coordinator, serving as a liaison between drug manufacturers, physicians and qualifying patients. Meet Christy Edmonds of South Hill. A resident of southside Virginia for more than two decades, she already knows a lot of residents. A project manager with a fundraising background and outgoing personality makes her a perfect fit for the Pharmacy Connection role. She comes from a high-pressure job in the hospitality industry and was looking for a job that would allow her people-person mentality to shine.

“I’m so excited to be here and want people to know we’re here to help support the community,” Edmonds said. “I’m looking forward to making a positive impact.”

Edmonds is active in several community theaters and enjoys baking. She is married and has a daughter who is a nursing student at Southside Virginia Community College. They have four cats and two dogs.

How does The Pharmacy Connection work?

VCU Health CMH's Pharmacy Connection utilizes software provided through the Virginia Health Care Foundation that includes information on more than 7,000 medications. Many prescription drug manufacturers have patient assistance programs for uninsured, low-income patients. This software helps the patient cut through the red tape reducing time, assisting with applications, eligibility, tracking, refills, reports and ultimately helping more low-income, chronically-ill patients get the medications they need to stay healthy. Most patients get the medications at a reduced rate or at no cost to them up to one year and then they have to reapply, and the Pharmacy Connection helps them do that.

Eligibility is based on household income and pharmaceutical manufacturers’ guidelines. The Virginia Health Care Foundation has a special category of grants for medication assistance called RxRelief Virginia, which is available because of an appropriation from Virginia’s Governor and General Assembly. In FY21, RxRelief Virginia funded 51,000 prescriptions totaling $104 million.

All of the major classes of medication are included, covering chronic diseases ranging from diabetes to hypertension, clinical depression to asthma and more. Since its 1997 launch, The Pharmacy Connection has generated more than $7.2 billion in free medications for more than 355,355 sick, uninsured Virginians via more than 5.4 million prescriptions. Visit www.vhcf.org for more information.

Not just medicine

The Pharmacy Connection also runs a program called “New Eyes,” which provides glasses for those in need. A patient can bring an eyeglasses prescription within the past two years to Christy and she can apply on the patient’s behalf. If approved, they are eligible to receive a new pair of basic glasses every year, or two pairs for children.

How do I know if I qualify?

While there are general income guidelines, many manufacturers qualify patients on a case-by-case basis.

Who do I call?

VCU Health CMH's Pharmacy Connection is administered through the CMH Foundation. Patients can be referred by their primary care physician. The number for patients to call for more information or to schedule an appointment is (434) 447-0856. The Pharmacy Connection is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. by appointment only.