Press Release

February 15, 2011

GWMAP Distributes Record Number of Free Prescriptions to Economically Distressed Citizens in 2010

WILLIAMSBURG, VA — Demand for community health services soared in 2010 as more citizens in the Greater Williamsburg area were affected by the economic downturn. Many, however, did not have to do without prescription medications through the assistance of a regional program.

In 2010, the Greater Williamsburg Medication Access Program made possible 19,608 prescriptions for 2,985 patients at community clinics in the area. The wholesale value of those medications was nearly $11 million. Those numbers – prescriptions, number of patients served and value - are records for the program, now in its sixth year.

GWMAP is an initiative of the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation. Funding is provided by WCHF and the program is administered by the Virginia Health Care Foundation.

Jeanne Zeidler, president of WCHF, said the program has become a key part of the region's healthcare safety net. "The program was launched in 2005, so it was firmly in place as the economic downturn began taking its toll several years later. While economic circumstances are forcing people to make difficult choices, we are pleased deciding whether to get prescription medications is not one of them."

Sarah Jane Stewart administers the program on behalf of VHCF. She said, "It sounds dramatic because it is: This program saves lives. The healthcare safety net is invisible to most people most of the time. They are extremely thankful, however, to find that through programs like GWMAP, it is there and it is strong should they need it."

WCHF's funding supports medication caseworkers at participating community clinics. Caseworkers match patient needs with free prescription medications from brand name pharmaceutical companies.

Participating clinics include Colonial Behavioral Health Services, Gloucester-Mathews Free Clinic, Lackey Free Clinic, Northern Neck Free Clinic, and Olde Towne Medical

Prescription Medications (2) Center. A roving outreach worker serves St. David's Free Clinic, and patients of physicians in King and Queen, King William and Essex Counties.

Through those clinics GWMAP serves citizens in the cities of Poquoson and Williamsburg and the counties of Charles City, Gloucester, James City, King William, King and Queen, Essex, Mathews, Middlesex, Surry, and York.

The Williamsburg Community Health Foundation, a private non-profit organization, supports programs that improve the health of people living in Williamsburg and surrounding counties. It focuses on enhancing access to quality health services and promoting responsible health practices. The foundation was formed in 1996. Since then it has given more than $44 million to support community health programs in the area. More information is available at www.WCHF.com.