Service Impact Award Winner: Philadelphia Health Corps

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United We Serve
By: 
Greg Tucker

Over the next several weeks, we will be profiling the winners of the 2012 Service Impact Awards. Look for their stories and videos here on the blog.

Rising health care costs continue to hit extra hard for people with chronic illnesses who are uninsured or living on fixed incomes. Philadelphia Health Corps AmeriCorps members serve in the city's District Health Centers to help these patients gain access to medications through drug company prescription assistance programs.

Philadelphia's network of eight health centers provide comprehensive primary care to more than 80,000 people each year, 57 percent of whom have no health insurance. When uninsured people become patients at the city health centers, the city is responsible for subsidizing care, including their prescription medications.

Without Philadelphia Health Corps members helping patients navigate through the complicated system of prescription assistance programs, it could be very difficult for the city to afford the tremendous cost burden and patients would go without needed medications. For AmeriCorps members, this program is a great way to learn about the healthcare system, where many of them hope to have future careers as physicians and other health specialties.

The effort began with two AmeriCorps members in 2006 and has expanded to 16 members serving in eight health centers. During the past six years, this program has helped more than 12,646 patients gain free access to medications, saving the City of Philadelphia over $8.5 million. The Philadelphia Health Corps, based at the Health Federation of Philadelphia, is an operating site of the National Health Corps AmeriCorps program.

Philadelphia Health Corps was selected as the winner in the Healthy Futures category in the 2012 National Service Impact Awards.

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