Almost 100,000 people in Wake County have no health insurance, leaving 10 percent of the county’s population without access to affordable medications. The Open Door Clinic Pharmacy works to fill in that gap.
Amanda Vaughn, the pharmacy manager, works alongside volunteers and pharmacy staff to ensure that those who need medications to manage chronic illnesses have them. “Not only do we have the best volunteer providers for all of the services we offer in house,” reads the pharmacy page on the UMWC website, “we have strong community partnerships that allow our patients access to off-site services and testing of lab specimens, diagnostic imaging and specialty medicine.”
The pharmacy works with partners like Filling in Gaps of Wake County (FIGS) which provides funding for generic medications, diabetes testing supplies and flu shots, NC MedAssist which provides 90-day generic medications for qualifying patients, Americares and Direct Relief which provides over the counter medication and health and beauty supplies, Deaconess Foundation, and the Office of Rural Health.
Although now by appointment only due to COVID-19, the pharmacy has been able to provide medication counseling and performed nearly 100 onsite counseling appointments in 2021. The adequately staffed office consists of a full-time pharmacist, two part-time pharmacists, a full-time technician, a full-time medication assistance program coordinator, and several dedicated volunteers.
Clinic and Pharmacy patient Timoteo Ortega Morales is an example of the impact the pharmacy has on clients’ lives.
Morales is the pharmacy’s first continuous glucose monitoring patient. He arrived at his appointment with a paper full of blood pressure and blood sugar readings over the prior three weeks. “This really shows the impact of teaching awareness and how being a partner in a client’s health can help create positive outcomes,” Vaughn said. “I am so proud of him.”
Another model clinic and pharmacy patient brought his blood pressure and glucose numbers from home testing. He checks his numbers at home twice daily and showed significant improvement.
“He shows how important it is for patients to be an active participant in managing their health and in partnering with their healthcare provider to reach their health goals,” Vaughn said. “I was also very proud of him.”