by Stephen Vodhanel, PhD
Originally funded by the Amgen Foundation, the Partners-in-D grant enabled the school to send pharmacy students directly into several community facilities to help underserved seniors choose a Medicare Part D program that best suits their individual needs. The Partners-in-D grant supported three years of sending pharmacy students into nearby senior centers and provided excellent experiential education regarding the needs of the elderly with understanding the daunting task of choosing the best Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
However, as the Amgen Foundation Partners-in-D grant has passed, the School of Pharmacy remains committed to serving elderly residents by continuing the same community service outreach dedicated to the Medicare Part D grant program. During the past three years the School of Pharmacy students and faculty were able to save many Medicare patients thousands of dollars. It was not uncommon to have a single Medicare patient see a savings of over $2,000 through proper Part D enrollment. The School of Pharmacy will remain committed to this service to the elderly for the foreseeable future.
The School of Pharmacy’s involvement with Partners-in-D offers valuable experiential learning for pharmacy students by providing the opportunity to work directly with individual patients, often with complicated drug regimens, in a manner that evaluates cost efficiencies in the Medicare system. The Partners-in-D experience allows pharmacy students the real-world opportunity to help seniors get the best and most appropriate coverage for their medications when possible. Partners-in-D prepares students for future work with elderly patients and builds a foundation for them to become vital advocates for elderly medication needs.
Joycelyn Yamzon, Pharm.D., director of the Partners-in-D grant, sees the value with assisting the elderly, as well as the experiential education benefit the Partners-in-D program provides. “For our students that are not doing rotations yet, this program gives them a great opportunity to apply classroom information of a complicated Medicare enrollment program to elderly citizens who would otherwise be so vulnerable without assistance,” stated Dr. Yamzon.
The School of Pharmacy has also expanded site visits for the 2011 enrollment period with the Medicare Part D program. The Loma Linda City Senior Center, as with new senior housing projects have been added to an existing list of several senior housing projects.
Third-year pharmacy students at the Loma Linda City Senior Center assisting with Medicare Part D enrollment.