Faces of 340B
Ryan Mezinger, Associate Director, Retail Pharmacy Operations, MetroHealth, Ohio.
MetroHealth in Cleveland receives about 1.4 million patient visits annually in Northeast Ohio. About 75% of the visits involve patients who are uninsured or enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare. Ryan Mezinger, the health system’s associate director of retail pharmacy operations, says the system takes pride in providing all its patients with personalized care and the respect and dignity they deserve, no matter their circumstances. The two most common diseases MetroHealth’s patients are living with are diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The system uses some of its 340B savings to provide significant discounts on many medications these patients require. For many patients, it provides insulin and inhalers for only $10. For patients who are unable to afford a small copay, it uses 340B savings to provide vouchers for medications at no cost to the patient. Ryan says these vouchers have been helpful for patients newly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis who are awaiting insurance approval for their prescriptions and cannot afford the high cost of the medications they need to live a pain-free life. MetroHealth also is using 340B savings to provide support services through its clinics. This includes the creation of a lift program that takes patients with HIV to and from their appointments if they do not have access to reliable transportation. This helps ensure the patients continue to meet with their doctors and other providers and continue to take the medications they need.