Pharmacy students at Roseman University of Health Sciences are taking extra steps to assist Nevada residents gain a better understanding of their Medicare plans and help them save money in the process. A recent national grant of $50,000 from NobleCause, an award program to foster volunteerism, is funding the student chapter of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) to recruit and train more student volunteers to assist Medicare beneficiaries in the ASCP call lab.
“Our students are part of a three-year program and volunteer their time to get trained by the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) in Nevada,” says Dr. Leiana Oswald, ASCP faculty advisor. “After the students receive their training, they are able to assist beneficiaries in Nevada with making economical selections for their Medicare plans—particularly Medicare Part B and drug coverage.”
Nevada has approximately 445,000 Medicare beneficiaries, and last year SHIP was able to reach 19,000. The NobleCause grant allows the ASCP volunteer call lab to support even more residents and widen the scope of SHIP.
“We’re hoping to reach 30,000 beneficiaries with the assistance of our 30 student-volunteers who are helping augment the state’s resources,” Oswald says. “Most people try and navigate it themselves or get recommendations from friends for their plan coverage, but if you have a very different medical condition you may not be on the best plan for what your needs are.”
With the additional funds from the grant, the student-led organization can purchase better headphones for the call lab and give more students the opportunity to learn about Medicare, which is not something necessarily taught in pharmacy school.
“Recently one student let me know they were able to save a beneficiary $600 a month by switching them over to a drug plan that covers their medication,” she adds. “We hear success stories like this all the time.”
This non-biased approach to offering assistance to those on Medicare gives residents more opportunities to discuss their coverage—not bound by open enrollment timeframes, the call lab is open year-round.
Oswald says she hopes the funding allows the students at the call lab to take their efforts to the next level.
“Our students could now get additional training to offer free medication therapy management consultation,” she says. “We can work with beneficiaries to ensure they’re on the safest medicine possible. It’s a life-changer for so many—financially and medically.”
The NobleCause grants, organized by NobleHour.com, were made possible by an anonymous donor within the GiveWell Community Foundation, which serves Polk County, Fla. Since 2007, NobleHour has proven to be the volunteer management solution for organizations across the nation. With its robust online platform, NobleHour enhances community engagement with a variety of innovative and transformative tools for finding, tracking, and measuring volunteer, service‐learning, and community service initiatives. With offices in Lakeland, Fla., and Portland, Ore, the NobleHour team is dedicated to empowering good in communities across the country.
By NobleHour Special Contributor:
Meagan Pierluissi, MA
PR & Communications
Meagan Pierluissi is a freelance writer, blogger, and public relations strategist with an overwhelming wish to connect people through storytelling. True to her southern roots, Meagan enjoys good food, slow conversations, and getting out into nature with her husband and daughter.