Although the needs are different, the theme is the same almost every time Nita Swift answers the phone for the Lower Savannah Council of Governments' Medi-cation Assistance Program.
"These are people who've worked, got paid, took care of their families. They never worried about benefits and retirement," she said.
Then, a heart attack, diabetes or some other medical condition arose. Without any health insurance, getting the medications they needed wasn't possible.
Funded by the United Way of Aiken County, MAP is designed to help low-income Aiken County residents get their medications.
Most pharmaceutical companies have programs to assist low-income patients; however, getting the medications free or at a reduced price often requires a lot of confusing paperwork.
"We help them weed through that process," Ms. Swift said.
Each pharmaceutical company has its own requirements, and for patients with several medications from different companies, it can be overwhelming, she said. Often, the forms include more than one page.
"It's like filling out a tax form," she said.
There is no charge for the service.
MAP has been in Aiken County for four years, and during that time more than $2 million in prescription medications have been obtained for patients.
Ms. Swift said anyone interested in finding out about the program should call her office first. She can determine whether there is a program for a particular medication and can let the patient know what documents would be needed to go with the paperwork.
For more information, call (803) 649-7981.
Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at firstname.lastname@example.org.