NEW BRITAIN - A pharmacy assistant coordinator at the Community Health Center has helped 500 patients save over $8 million on thousands of prescriptions.
Since starting full-time in 2011, Rita Sobieraj has helped people who have been unable to access their prescriptions through medication discount programs and grants.
“All my life, I wanted to be in the medical profession, I liked it and I still like it. I like the idea of being able to help people,” Sobieraj said. “The satisfaction you see when you give these people their meds is amazing.”
Community Health Centers have been around for 45 years and have 14 locations throughout the state, primarily serving the uninsured and underinsured.
Sobieraji says she has helped save over $8 million on over 4,000 prescriptions for about 500 patients in the last seven years.
Many of the prescriptions Sobieraji has helped patients acquire are for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and hepatitis C, which can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 per treatment.
“These are people who could go bankrupt if they didn’t have this assistance,” Community Health Center spokeswoman Stephanie Ivers Heine, said.
Sobieraj said the most satisfying part of her job is being able to help people who cannot otherwise afford prescription drugs.
She told the Herald two success stories.
One patient had been discharged from the hospital and needed to get on medication for blood clots. The patient had insurance, but the copayment was still $500.
“He couldn’t afford it. I called the insurance company and got him 30 days free until we can get him on the program,” Sobieraj said.
Another patient, a woman who kept having miscarriages and developed blood clots afterward, was unable to afford the medication she needed. She was undocumented and had no insurance.
Sobieraj was able to get her on Lovenox.
Months later, she got pregnant again and was able to deliver a healthy girl.
“It’s really rewarding to me to be able to help the people and get medication for (them),” Sobieraj said.
Health care has been a hot political topic lately, due largely to President Donald Trump’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Last month, the administration proposed new rules to allow people to purchase short-term health insurance with less coverage.
According to CNN, the short-term plans would not provide free preventative or maternity care, prescription drugs and mental health benefits, as ACA now does.
“Regardless of what happens in the political climate, our motto is ‘Health care is a right, not a privilege’ and so, therefore, no matter what happens, we’re always going to be working on our end to do what we have to do,” Heine said.