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Free clinic is her lifeline

Boyer, others depend on charity for medicine they can't afford

Boyer, others depend on charity for medicine they can't afford

August 18, 2002|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

Pamela Boyer's life depends on the medications she gets at the Community Free Clinic, she said.

Money from United Way of Washington County pays for some of the 29 pills Boyer takes every day.

Her $6.75-per-hour job wouldn't cover the cost of the medications she takes for ailments ranging from asthma to high blood pressure, she said.

"If there wouldn't be a place like the free clinic for someone like me to go, I would die," said Boyer, 44, of Hagerstown. "There's no way I could afford all my medicine."

She estimates her prescriptions cost about $1,200 per month.

Boyer said she visits the Community Free Clinic at 18 W. Franklin St. in Hagers-town at least once a month. She leaves with a bag of medicine to treat her asthma, diabetes, lung problems, arthritis, acid reflux, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, depression and pain from three degenerative discs in her spine.

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Her job as a home care provider doesn't offer medical insurance, Boyer said.

United Way in fiscal 2001-02 allocated more than $38,000 for the free clinic's prescription program, spokesman Bill Bulla said.

United Way money enables the clinic's volunteer providers to write prescriptions for drugs in short supply or not available at the clinic. Clients are given prescription vouchers that are honored at a local pharmacy, Bulla said.

Clinic Executive Director Jeff Downin has requested $57,238 from United Way in fiscal 2002-03 - about 8 percent of the clinic's estimated $470,000 annual budget - to help cover drug costs for an anticipated 10,500 clients, he said.

The clinic gives clients more than $60,000 worth of donated medications each month and provides the United Way-funded vouchers for all other medications, Downin said.

Boyer said she has relied upon many of those vouchers.

"I don't know what I'd do without them," she said. "The United Way and Community Free Clinic are just wonderful."

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