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The Pulse

  • 2019 NC MedAssist Luncheon Provides Food and Inspiration

    On Thursday, May 2, NCAPA PA members and staff joined medical professionals from across the state to attend the 2019 NC MedAssist Executive Luncheon in Raleigh. NC MedAssist is a Charlotte-based nonprofit that seeks to bridge the healthcare gap by providing free prescriptions and over-the-counter medications to low-income North Carolinians.

    The keynote speaker for the event was the inspiring Reverend Richard Joyner from Conetoe (pronounced Ko-nee-ta), NC. Rev. Joyner is the founder of the Conetoe Family Life Center, a nonprofit utilizing local agriculture to improve health outcomes.

    Reverend Richard Joyner

    Before founding the Conetoe Family Life Center, Rev. Joyner presided over 33 funerals, in just one year, of people under the age of 50 who died of hypertension. For a town of only 300, this was devastating. According to Rev. Joyner, the health problems of Conetoe residents begin when many teens are diagnosed with high blood pressure in high school. “They don’t take their medication in their twenties, have renal failure in their thirties, and do not make it out of their forties.” Rev. Joyner was able to reverse this trend by utilizing previously abandoned farmland behind his church. Each year, 60 children from Edgecombe County learn to grow fruits and vegetables and raise honey bees. They also learn healthy recipes to utilize the crops and bring both food and health information back to their families. Thanks to improved blood pressure monitoring and healthy eating habits, 30-day readmits to emergency rooms are down to zero for Conetoe residents.

    Rev. Joyner and the town of Conetoe are also dedicated to seeing their students use their knowledge to continue improving the world around them. Thanks to over $90,000 in contributions, the first five graduates of the Conetoe Family Life Center Agro-Business Camp are attending college in the fall. According to Rev. Joyner, the key to success is to “put people first and see what happens”.

    The luncheon, highlighted by Rev. Joyner’s talk, encouraged attendees to think how they can better contribute to the overall health of the community.


    NC MedAssist has four primary initiatives:

    1. Providing free, lifesaving prescription medications to North Carolinians who fall at or below 200% of the poverty level;
    2. Supporting seniors over the age of 65 whose annual benefits have run out by providing their remaining prescriptions free of charge;
    3. Providing free over-the-counter medications, regardless of ability to pay, at the Gerhart Community Medicine Shoppe.
    4. Partnering with Goodwill Industries to coordinate on-the-job training in their OTC Free Medicine Store. In this program, associates learn warehouse management along with interpersonal skills that are crucial for professional success. All of the graduates of the training program have since been placed in stable employment.

    NC MedAssist has distributed 18,200 free prescriptions to 1,500 clients and 3,371 mobile care patients. This year, they distributed over $63 million in medicine to their clients. For every dollar donated to NC MedAssist, $20 in medications are given to North Carolinians in need. PAs are able to access this service for qualifying patients. Quincy Jones, PA-C, shared

    “I have been using NC MedAssist for many years to help patients get medications that they would otherwise be unable to access. I used NC MedAssist while working at Lincoln Community Health Center, where I cared for patients experiencing homelessness, and use it currently at TROSA, where I work with patients in substance use disorder treatment. NC MedAssist has been an amazing resource in obtaining highly needed medications that improve the quality of patient care we are able to provide.”

    NCAPA is honored to be able to support the great work of NC MedAssist and is looking forward to working with them in the future. You can learn more about NC MedAssist at www.ncmedassist.org.

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