- About ODC
- Agency ADA Coordinators
(Serving the Disability Community of Oklahoma)
Volume 13, Issue 3
Affordable prescriptions are a huge issue for people with disabilities who are notoriously underemployed and unemployed in comparison with the general population. Jane Garner is a Programs Field Representative in the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Aging Services Division, and she has served as staff liaison for the Oklahoma Pharmacy Connection Council since 2009.
The Oklahoma Pharmacy Connection Council was established in 2002 by the Oklahoma Legislature. Its purpose is to improve access to prescription drugs for Oklahomans who have either no health insurance or inadequate health insurance.
Back in 2002 there was a big interest in affordable prescriptions as news began to surface that the identical prescriptions could be obtained in Canada for 40% less than in this country. Reportedly that same medication could be purchased in Mexico at a 60% discount.
The state legislature in Illinois authorized the importation of prescriptions to their Medicaid program, and Oklahoma was considering doing the same. Affordable prescriptions were a political issue in Oklahoma which had one of the highest rates of people without health insurance in the nation.
The Oklahoma Pharmacy Connection Council was created to address the issue of affordable prescriptions. It was composed of representatives of state agencies which have something to do with prescription medications and representatives of the medical field such as doctors and pharmacists.
The Oklahoma Pharmacy Connection considered drug manufacturer assistance programs already in existence in most of the national pharmaceutical manufacturers. These individual programs were designed by the manufacturers to serve people who were medically indigent. In simple terms, these people did not have access to programs which paid for prescription drugs, and they did not have the income to purchase them on the private market.
The Oklahoma Prescription Assistance program Rx for Oklahoma was created in legislation in 2005 to address the needs of Oklahomans for affordable drugs. The Prescription Assistance Program divided Oklahoma into several regions with one, toll-free number which would automatically connect callers to the program in their region of the state. That toll-free number is 877-794-6552. The program is funded by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
The Prescription Assistance Program will help you if you have no resource to pay for prescriptions or if you have more prescriptions than what your resource will pay for. For instance, SoonerCare (Oklahoma Medicaid) will only pay for six prescriptions per month. If you were prescribed seven medications, SoonerCare could pay for six, and it is possible the Prescription Assistance Program could help you afford that last script.
How does it work? You provide information about your doctor and all medications and dosages as well as basic information like your name, phone number and address. The Prescription Assistance Program then locates the drug manufacturer of each of your meds and blends your demographics onto the application of that particular assistance program. Medications may or may not come with a small co-pay. They may be sent directly to you, or they may go to your doctor on your behalf.
It has made a difference to the many Oklahomans who find themselves unable to afford their medication. If you would like to know more about the Prescription Assistance Program, call toll free 877-794-6552 and ask for an application and a brochure about the program be sent to your home. The Oklahoma Pharmacy Connection Council works to share information about this program to help people just like you.
P.S. Who qualifies for the Prescription Assistance Program? Oklahoma residents, regardless of age, who are uninsured, underinsured or low income (at or below federal poverty limits) are encouraged to apply. Medicare Part D and Medicaid beneficiaries with unique circumstances may qualify.
A Vision for Expansion
As interim executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Oklahoma Chapter, David Gordon has a vision of where he thinks this organization should be. If he is selected as the executive director, he may well have the chance to implement his plans.
Currently we have ten NAMI affiliates in Oklahoma. David Gordon would like to expand NAMI affiliates to Enid, Muskogee, Vinita and McAlester if the local interest is there.
NAMI on the national, state and local affiliate level is an advocacy organization for people with mental health disabilities and their families. It promotes a better understanding of mental illness and seeks to de-stigmatize mental health disabilities.
David Gordon points out that a mental illness is a brain disorder in the same way that diabetes is a pancreas disorder. Let’s not blame the person for having the disorder.
He explains that fully 75 million Americans have some type of mental health disability at some time during their lifetime. If we de-stigmatize it, we make it easier for people to get the treatment they need and recover.
To form a local affiliate, NAMI goes through a process. First, if a local person with interest calls NAMI Oklahoma, the state organization will provide training on establishing a local support group for family members and for people with a mental health disability.
If the support groups are successful, the state organization can provide a potential local affiliate with information on becoming a private, non-profit (501C3) organization. A local affiliate may choose to use the state 501C3 status instead.
The potential local affiliate must establish bylaws and find a place to set up their office. These things are then reviewed by the state and national NAMI for approval.
This spring the annual NAMI Walks fundraiser netted almost $150,000 for the state chapter. That in addition to funding from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services provides for the day-to-day running of the office.
David Gordon would like to see an annual fall fundraiser every bit as big as the spring walk. He would like to use these funds to hire a Suicide Prevention Coordinator to travel the state teaching the public to recognize the symptoms of suicide before they can be acted on.
David explains that we have had several, high-profile teen suicides in Oklahoma recently. He also makes the point that fully one in four suicides overall is a veteran.
David Gordon proudly talks about a recent Town Hall Meeting he conducted on Facebook. He was looking for ideas for NAMI, and he wanted to share what NAMI was about. The response was good, and he’ll do it again. NAMI must stay abreast of the latest social media to relate to and serve the public.
If you would like to know more about NAMI Oklahoma, go to their website at http://ok.nami.org. You may email David Gordon at David@namioklahoma.org. Call toll free statewide 800-583-1264.
Localized Oklahoma City Transportation
Many people are familiar with the public transportation offered in various Oklahoma cities such as Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Lawton, Norman and Edmond. Rural Oklahomans may be more familiar with the rural transit provider in their part of the state.
Many people do not know there is public transportation localized in one small part of Oklahoma City—the campus of the O.U. Health Sciences Center (O.U.H.S.C.). That campus includes the area between Lottie and Lincoln on the east/west axis and 8th to 13th Streets on the north/south. Brian Wilburn is the Manager of Parking/Transportation at O.U.H.S.C. and provides the information you see here.
On the transportation side, the O.U.H.S.C. has seven buses of which four will be in operation from early morning till early evening. There is no Saturday or Sunday service.
This transportation serves perhaps 10,000 employees and students as well as patients and their families visiting medical facilities concentrated in northeast Oklahoma City. There are two bus routes on campus. The VA Route links offsite VA parking with the VA Hospital’s two entrances. The Central Route stops at 18 locations across campus. The VA Route runs every 15 minutes during operating hours while the Central Route comes around every 20 minutes. During one week in June, ridership was approximately 3000 on the VA Route and 1155 on the Central Route.
Parking is also a service at the O.U. Health Sciences Center. They maintain almost 9000 parking spaces on campus. They do not operate all parking spaces however. (Dean A. McGee Eye Clinic, VA Hospital and O.U. Medical Center among others operate their own parking lots and garages.)
Parking fees at O.U.H.S.C. plus student fees pay for the operation of the buses, parking lot maintenance and 28 employees, most of which are full-time. Some of these employees write citations for people parked illegally in parking designated for people with disabilities.
If you are interested in maps, routes and bus schedules, you may go to the website www.ouhsc.edu/parking and open up the tab for transportation. You may also get transportation and parking information by calling 405-271-2020. The Health Sciences Center is a veritable city within a city.
Make Promises Happen Camps
Make Promises Happen Camps
A division of Central Christian Camps just south of Guthrie, Oklahoma is called Make Promises Happen camps (MPH). Make Promises Happen offers the camping experience year around for children and adults with disabilities—primarily people with a cognitive disorder.
Bryce Chitwood is Director of Operations and shares that Make Promises Happen is the only statewide, year around camping program for people with disabilities. It may serve the largest number of campers with disabilities in Oklahoma.
MPH is located just south of Guthrie, Oklahoma on three hundred wooded acres. Four ponds are available for canoes, paddleboats and fishing. All facilities for sleeping and eating are fully air conditioned and heated.
Northwoods Village is a lodge with living room, sleeping room and bathrooms all under one roof. Camp Tanglewood has bunk beds in an open room with air-conditioned, flush toilets located off site. Both are located on different sides of campus and permit two camps serving different age groups to occur simultaneously.
Coming up July 16-20, 2012 is a week-long camp for youth with disabilities ages 6-17. During those same dates there will be a camp for young adults with disabilities ages 18-30.
MPH also has weekend camps. Both week-long and weekend camps take place during the summer high season from June through August. The rest of the year, weekend camps are scheduled—usually one per month including the winter season.
Campers may apply online at www.centralchristiancamp.org or call 800-299-2811 for an application. There is a screening process for all applications to make sure the camper is appropriate for the particular camp. MPH serves 300 campers each year with many of those 300 returning for more than one camp during the same year.
One feature which may be unique to Make Promises Happen camps is the concerted effort to locate volunteer counselors matched one on one with campers. Volunteers come from high schools, colleges and churches, and each has an OSBI check as well as a check with the sex offender registry to ensure all campers have a safe camping experience.
A week-long camp at MPH including five days, four nights and all meals served buffet style goes for $425. The weekend camp is $115. Partial scholarships are available. No camper has ever been turned away because they couldn’t pay the full cost of their camp.
If you would like more information including information on specific camps available for the rest of the year, go to the website www.centralchristiancamp.org. You may also call 800-299-2811. Applications may be completed online or you can have a hard copy sent to your address.
MPH is a private, non-profit organization, and as such your contributions are tax deductible. As already mentioned, the camps make extensive use of volunteer counselors. In 2011 six hundred volunteers donated 30,000 volunteer hours. Call if you would like to volunteer.
Kids say the darndest things:
Question: What is a fibula?
Answer: A small lie
Question: What does “varicose” mean?
Question: What does the word “benign” mean?
Answer: Benign is what you will be after you are eight.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
July 19-22, 2012 The Juvenile Arthritis Conference is the important,
national event for families affected by juvenile arthri-
tis. The conference will take place at the Marriott
St. Louis Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri.
For more information contact Katie Bitner at 404-965-
7538 or KBITNER@ARTHRITIS.ORG.
July 20, 2012 The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance
Abuse Services sponsors their suicide prevention conference.
The conference will be at the National Center for Employee
Development in Norman, Oklahoma. For more information
and cost, contact Chelsea Abbott at 405-522-8311 or
September 7, 2012 The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission
presents its 32nd semi-annual job fair at the Coca Cola
October 31, 2012 The Office of Disability Concerns will host a Fall Employment Festival. This event will showcase business with job opportunities for people with disabilities as well as informational booths from vendors. Look for more information regarding this event on our website soon.
If you have an event coming up relating to a disability issue, let us know at 800-522-8224, and we’ll help you publicize.