Moya L. Alfonso, PhD, MSPH
Moya L. Alfonso, PhD, MSPH
We are grateful for the physicians who volunteer their time and skills to make our mission possible. In return, we make it easy to work with us.
When you apply to be a volunteer physician with We Care Manatee, you and your practice receive state sovereign immunity from the Florida Department of Health, which provides a limited liability environment in which to treat patients who cannot afford to pay for medical care.
Our program is tailored precisely to fit your needs. You simply set the parameters of your donation, and we find patients you can help based on the guidelines you provide.
By providing a private sector solution to treating the uninsured, we eliminate the red tape and hassle that is often associated with donated care. The result is a proven, effective program that enables you to give back to the community on your own terms.
HOW TO SEND A PATIENT TO US
Quality care for our patients is our top priority. Making it easy and convenient for physicians to work with us is also a priority.
If you are a physician looking to refer a patient, all you need to do is complete, sign and submit a We Care Manatee Referral Form, along with the patient’s medical records and any diagnostic results. We’ll take it from there to confirm patient eligibility and make the necessary referrals.
If you are a We Care Manatee volunteer physician, we will confirm the patient’s eligibility and make a referral to you based on your specialty and availability.
Please refer to the section below to see our thorough and convenient process and download the referral form.
WE CARE MANATEE’S PHARMACEUTICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Victoria P. Kasdan, R.N, MPH
Executive Director, We Care Manatee
No one should have to choose between filling a needed prescription and paying for food, rent or other living essentials. At We Care Manatee we believe all prescription medications should be safe, effective and affordable. Unfortunately, expensive prescription drugs represent a significant barrier to the prevention, treatment and management of a patient’s medical care. As drug cost continue to rise exponentially, low-income uninsured patients are even more vulnerable to socioeconomic variables that exacerbate disparities in medication access. There are several options available to assist patients who need pharmaceutical assistance but finding and accessing them can be challenging.
FREE Rx Advantage for We Care Providers and Patients
We Care Manatee volunteer physicians who prescribe select medications for We Care patients have access to our Pharmaceutical Prescription Program. This program allows those eligible patients to fill a 30-day prescribed medication, valued between $5 to $400, at one of four local Walmart pharmacies with a We Care voucher at no cost. Prescriptions for birth control, antipsychotics or controlled substances are non-formulary, and generics are substituted for brand drugs whenever available. This provides a convenience for our patients who may otherwise do without needed medication and allows our volunteer providers to be more effective on their behalf. To take advantage of this free Rx program, We Care volunteer practitioners provide a hard copy of a written Rx to the patient for an initial 30-day supply with up to a max. of 2 refills. The patient then brings the written Rx to We Care Manatee. At We Care we verify the patient’s eligibility and confirm that the Rx meets our guidelines. If so, the patient receives a voucher to obtain a free Rx. We also provide free flu vaccine vouchers and a limited number of other vaccinations available and administered at Walmart as recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Please note, we are unable to provide this benefit for prescriptions submitted electronically.
Prescription Assistance Programs (PAP’s)
There are several other options available for reduced drug cost including Prescription Assistance Programs or PAP’s. They often allow patients who qualify to obtain brand name prescription drugs at little or no cost. PAP’s are particularly advantageous for patients who need expensive medications on a recurring basis and where no generic is currently on the market. These may be offered by one or more of the following groups:
- Drug Company Prescription Assistance Programs (PAP)
- State Prescription Assistance Programs (PAP’s)
- Nonprofit Group Prescription Assistance Programs
While PAP’s can save the patient a considerable amount of money, they are not widely used, and the enrollment process can sometimes be overwhelming as well as time consuming to both the patient and provider.
Other Free or Low-Cost Rx Options
While a PAP has its merits based on the type of Rx needed, many seeking more commonly prescribed medications seem to find free discount drug cards and free or low-cost prescription plans offered by a few retail pharmacy chains easier to use and access.
Discount Drug Cards
Prescription drug prices are not regulated. Prices can vary widely for the same drug amongst retail pharmacies, even within the same city or town. It pays to compare but “gag orders” limiting what a pharmacist can say unless directly asked, dose variability, and lack of online transparency can make comparison shopping difficult. Discount drug cards can help consumers shop and compare prices at local pharmacies for prescription drugs. The best discount card programs are ones that are easy to use, widely accepted, and available at no cost. Below are a few frequently used;
Discounted Drug Cards
Florida Rx https://www.floridarxcard.com/
Blink Health https://www.blinkhealth.com
Retail Pharmacy Low or No Cost Offerings
Several local retail pharmacies also have free or discounted medications. They typically offer the most common medications prescribed at low or no cost for certain therapeutic categories, and most of the information about the drugs and associated cost are available to the public online.
Publix offers a 14-day supply of select antibiotics at no cost and charges $7.50 for a 90-day supply of certain maintenance drugs for chronic conditions. Check their online site for updated information on cost and formulary medications that apply.
Walmart offers a discounted flat rate for certain prescription medications. Here the patient can get a 30-day supply for $4 & 90-day supply for $10 on select prescription medications. The formulary changes often, so it’s important to check to be sure the most current version matches what is shown online.
Prescription drugs are often relied upon to treat disease and improve health. In many instances the benefits of prescribed medications outweigh the risk, but cost can impact access and compliance.
When medications become unaffordable it can lead patients to make dangerous choices such as, adjusting dosages, using supplements or OTC substitutions, or other actions that impact compliance and efficacy, including not taking the medication at all due to cost. Today there are several options available to minimize rising prescription cost and encourage medication adherence, including free prescriptions offered under the We Care Manatee program.
Our vision is that all patients have access to quality health care regardless of their ability to pay, including access to affordable prescription medications.
Complete and sign the We Care Manatee Referral Form and return it to our office. Your patient must also sign the form. You also will need to submit your patient’s medical records and the results of any tests required to confirm the diagnosis.
You can fax the form and records to our office at 941-870-8503.
You also can drop it by or mail it to our office:
We Care Manatee
300 Riverside Drive East
Bradenton, FL 34208
THE BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH US
There are multiple benefits to being a volunteer physician with We Care Manatee.
Physicians and their practices receive state sovereign immunity when seeing We Care Manatee patients.
Physicians may pre-screen referrals and any accompanying medical records before approving the referral request.
Our voucher program helps patients with most prescriptions written by your office.
Aftercare and services such as physical therapy and occupational therapy may be available.
Local diagnostic centers are available for use when an MRI, x-ray, PET scan, and other tests are required.
We have great working relationships with all three local hospitals.
Physicians can earn CMEs for their participation in the program.
Mammogram, biopsy and surgical consultation services are available through our Breast Health & Wellness Program.
BECOME A VOLUNTEER PHYSICIAN
We continue to enhance our volunteer physician program and make it easier for you to treat our patients more completely. Please consider joining our team of dedicated physicians by seeing one or more patients this year through the We Care Manatee program.
Please download the Volunteer Health Care Provider Program (VHCPP) application to the right, complete, and return it to our administrative office.
You can mail the application to:
We Care Manatee, Inc.
300 Riverside Drive East
Bradenton, FL 34208
Please take the time to view the sample contract below from the State of Florida that dictates the sovereign immunity clause for volunteer healthcare providers.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY PHYSICIANS
Referring a Patient to We Care Manatee
The patient must meet and provide documented proof of the following to be eligible for We Care Manatee services:
Age 18 to 64
Resident of Manatee County
Not eligible for and/or has no pending claim for Medicaid, disability, workers’ compensation, accident/injury
At or below 200% of the current Federal Poverty Level
An active Florida-licensed physician or nurse practitioner can refer a patient to We Care Manatee.
What types of services can they be referred for?
Patients can be referred to We Care Manatee if they need one or more of the following:
• Referral to a medical or surgical specialist (age 18 to 64)
• Screening or diagnostic breast health services screening (age 18 to 49)
• Primary care physician for non-acute care (age 18 to 64)
Physicians may make only one type of referral request per form. Multiple requests on the same form will not be accepted. Each request must have specific medical/clinical information to support that specific request.
We recommend for fastest review of your request the referral be FAXED to We Care Manatee directly at 941-870-8503.
It’s important that the initial referral request be submitted in its entirety to avoid delays in the review process. A complete referral includes;
• Completed We Care Manatee Referral Request form. The Form must be completed in its entirety, signed by the physician, and signed by patient
• Medical records with clinical information and documentation supporting the request
• Up to date labs and actual copy (with reading) of any diagnostic CT/MRI or ultrasound if applicable
There are several steps in the review process. On average, a completed referral will be reviewed within 4 to 5 business days. For more details on the review processes, see the attached flow sheets which outline our process for a physician specialist, breast health, and primary care clinic referral.
• The referral is incomplete (missing patient information, signatures, and/or medical information)
• The referral was submitted on incorrect forms
• The request reason does not meet our clinical criteria and/or can be addressed by the requesting primary care provider
• We do not have a volunteer physician that can address your patient’s need
• There is an overwhelming demand for the requested services and the wait may be prolonged
• The patient is ineligible for services due to age, residency, income, insurance status, and/or eligibility for or pending workers’ compensation or disability
Becoming a Volunteer Physician with We Care Manatee
We care about our patients and know that their proper diagnosis, quality treatment and expert care are heavily dependent on the compassion, generous donation of time, and clinical skill of our volunteer physicians.
When you become an approved and contracted We Care Manatee volunteer physician providing uncompensated services to eligible We Care Manatee patients, you are acting as an extension of the Florida Department of Health. In that capacity, you will receive sovereign immunity under their Volunteer Health Services Program as authorized by Chapter 110 for general volunteers 766 for licensed health care providers under Florida Statutes.
Sovereign immunity provides general liability protection and workers’ compensation as determined by the Florida Department of Health.
In addition, you are helping provide access to quality health care to the underserved and uninsured member of our community, and contributing to the “bottom line” by facilitating their ability to be healthy, working and productive members of our society.
You are in good company when you become a We Care Manatee volunteer physician, joining nearly 90 other local clinicians who believe access to and the delivery of quality healthcare represent a win/win/win scenario for the patient, the provider and the community.
In total, the process takes on average about 10 business days to complete and can be completed in a few easy steps;
1. Application: Complete, sign and submit the volunteer physician application for the Volunteer Health Care Provider Program (VHCPP) contract to We Care Manatee – please sign in BLUE ink.
2. Background Check: The Florida Department of Health will run a background check on your medical license, and if your license is free and clear, draft a VHCPP contract specific to you and if requested, your organization.
3. Contract: A VHPCC contract is issued and sent to you by We Care Manatee – please sign in BLUE ink.
4. Your Contract Signature: Sign and return your VHCPP contract to We Care Manatee.
5. Their Contract Signature: We Care Manatee will obtain final signature authorization from the Florida Department of Health and send you the final contract with both sets of signatures.
6. Done! You are ready to accept patients referred to you directly from We Care Manatee.*
*Accepting We Care Manatee referrals from any other source, except directly from We Care Manatee, could jeopardize your sovereign immunity coverage.
You make the final decision. We Care Manatee volunteer physicians may pre-screen referrals and their accompanying medical records for final determination regarding acceptance of a patient’s case and care.
Referring Current We Care Manatee Patients to Other Specialists or Tests
If after assessing and/or treating the patient you determine that he or she needs to see either an additional specialist or a different specialist, please write a referral using your own Rx pad explaining the request, attach the medical notes supporting your decision, and fax the request back to We Care Manatee. We will review the request and, if appropriate and we have a specialist that will take the case, we will facilitate the additional referral request.
No. It is not recommended to refer to other practitioners directly even if you are aware the practitioner is a We Care Manatee volunteer physician. Any referral that does not come directly from We Care Manatee to a practitioner may not be covered under the sovereign immunity protection and may also put the patient at financial risk.
Prescription Assistance for We Care Manatee Patients
Yes. Patients who qualify may be eligible to receive free or discounted prescription medications for up to 30 days. In some instances, they also may be eligible for refills. We Care Manatee provides a free Rx voucher or discount card for drugs that are on our formulary for prescriptions prescribed for We Care Manatee patients by We Care Manatee volunteer physicians.
If the prescribed medication is not on our formulary, we will make a concerted effort to facilitate finding a location that discounts the medication, if available. We do NOT dispense any medication at our location and also do not provide pharmaceutical assistance for prescribed contraceptives, antipsychotic drugs, or narcotics.
Tracking Care and Value of Physician Services
After you see a We Care Manatee patient, you will complete and return to us the We Care Manatee referral form (either downloaded by you or provided to you by the patient). The form includes a space for you to enter the CPT-4 and/or DRG code for the service provided and estimated Medicare rate or charge associated with that service. This information allows us to confirm care was provided and, if needed, facilitate additional care coordination. It also provides an opportunity for We Care Manatee to track the value of the services donated at the individual physician level and collectively by all our physician volunteers. This helps to provide a measurable, reportable value to your service and the service that We Care Manatee facilitates for our patients, our donors, and our community.