Updated 9/7/17 by Michael Knappen, PHA Patient and Caregiver Programs

The situation in the Houston area remains critical, but many hands and hearts are reaching out to help! I’m personally touched by all the thoughts and prayers going out to the people impacted by this disaster, and even more by the actions of local responders, medical teams and volunteers. Here are the latest updates from PHA:

CVS Specialty is available and ready to assist patients who call 1-877-242-2738. CVS Specialty has been proactively reaching out to our pharmacy patients in areas affected by severe weather to assist with prescription needs. Patients who have opted in to CVS Pharmacy’s automated notification programs, may receive automated phone calls, text messages, and mobile app notifications, depending on the status of their current prescriptions. CVS Pharmacy Encourages Patients to Pick Up Medications and Supplies in Advance of Severe Weather – https://cvshealth.com/…/cvs-pharmacy-encourages-patients-pi…. CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation Donate $200,000 Towards Hurricane Harvey Relief and Recovery Effort. In addition, CVS Health has donated more than $90,000 worth of in-kind products including personal hygiene, clean-up and over-the-counter items to area shelters and continues to work with shelters throughout Texas to support those displaced.– https://cvshealth.com/…/cvs-health-and-cvs-health-foundatio…. CVS Pharmacy Deploys Additional Pharmacy Resources to Impacted Communities Following Hurricane Harvey – https://cvshealth.com/…/cvs-pharmacy-deploys-additional-pha…

Remember that you can check Rx Open to find open pharmacies in disaster-impacted areas: https://www.healthcareready.org/rxopen.

Our industry partners at Actelion Pharmaceuticals provided the following update on accessing medications during this crisis:
1. Contact the pharmacy that normally sends you medication (for many, this is via mail through a specialty pharmacy). If you don’t have their phone number available, one of these may help you remember (see the contact list below).
2. You may not be sure where you will be in the coming weeks; it’s worth asking if the pharmacy can let you refill your medication early. In cases of natural disasters, the pharmacy should be able to get this approved by your insurance. There is a method for overriding “refill too soon” type rejections during a disaster: “Submission Clarification Code 13 – Payer-Recognized Emergency/Disaster Assistance Request”.
3. If you are not out of medication/still have supply on hand, it’s important to get in touch now with your pharmacy(ies) and provide a current phone number(s) and the phone numbers of alternate contacts such as family members. This will help the pharmacy in the future as well if they need to reach you. Also provide your current location, even if it’s a shelter.
4. Many of the pharmacies have special team members designated to work with those who are displaced. They have been utilizing couriers and even the national guard in order to make deliveries.
5. For prescriptions that are picked up at a physical pharmacy (retail location), use this to find out whether your location is open and where the nearest alternative is: Healthcare Ready’s Rx Open (https://www.healthcareready.org/rxopen) is an interactive map that helps patients and providers find nearby open pharmacies in areas impacted by disaster. The map will be updated daily throughout the federally declared disaster.

With floodwaters displacing thousands in and around Houston, Texas, the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) community is monitoring events and mobilizing to support members in need. More than 700 PHA constituents, including patients, families, health care professionals and donors, live within ten miles of Houston.

PHA’s Houston Support Group leader Shirley Craig tells PHA’s Patient and Caregiver Programs team that some members have had to evacuate and others left their homes after losing power. Support group members in the area are in close and constant contact with one another, largely through their private Facebook page.

The two PHA Pulmonary Hypertension Care Center (PHCC)-accredited facilities in the area are a part of health care centers that are operational – Houston Methodist and Texas Children’s Hospital.

While PHA has not received reports of patients needing emergency deliveries of PH treatments or oxygen, we are continuing to monitor the situation.

Meantime, some Houston area residents with PH and their caregivers are providing public accounts of how they are coping through periodic posts on PHA’s Facebook page.

PHA Corporate partners are also mobilizing. Here are a couple of examples:

Accredo nurses are on call around the clock for impacted PH patients experiencing issues with their medication and say pharmacists are just a phone call away.

Any Accredo patient experiencing an issue can call 1-888-FIGHTPH (888-344-4874).  We have nurses that are answering that line 24/7 and pharmacists that are just a phone call away. Here is additional information from Accredo’s PAH Therapeutic Resource Center.

  • Accredo is proactively following critical prostacyclin patients closely to ensure they have all medication and supplies that are needed
  • Accredo has assigned one pharmacist to exclusively work with patients in the hurricane-affected areas
  • Accredo has contacted the National Guard to assist in getting medications to patients.  Accredo is assessing patients on a case-by-case basis and using the National Guard or couriers as necessary
  • The Accredo office is closed in Houston, but has pharmacists who have been able to get to the location to handle critical items.
  • Accredo patients in affected areas off its auto-dial system are being contacted directly by customer service representatives to obtain their whereabouts and situation to determine how the company can get medication to them.
  • Accredo has increased staff in its Dallas location to support patients who might typically be serviced by its Houston branch.
  • As Accredo can in Louisiana and Alabama – a nursing team is moving forward any scheduled nursing visits whenever possible to get ahead of any storm related issues, like flooding.

To help provide continued access to Letairis, Gilead has implemented emergency disaster procedures through its LEAP program.  Through this program, low income individuals with insurance who live in the affected areas may be eligible for free product. Gilead’s patient support program for Letairis (aka LEAP) at 866-664-5327.

Bayer’s disaster relief plan is in effect for patients in the affected areas. They are reaching out to patients directly. If patients need further assistance they should contact their specialty pharmacy.

In addition, we received the following information from Pfizer:

Pfizer has also implemented disaster relief protocols at Pfizer RxPathways®, a service that connects patients to the Pfizer assistance programs that may be right for them.  If a medicine provided through the Pfizer Patient Assistance Program has been destroyed or lost, or patients who are enrolled are unable to reach their doctors’ offices and need their medicine shipped to an alternate location, this service can help. Additionally, if new patients urgently need a Pfizer medicine but have been displaced and are unable to access income documentation and other paperwork needed for enrollment into the Pfizer Patient Assistance Program, the company is able to waive these requirements so that patients can receive their medication as quickly as possible.

Pfizer is sharing this information via social media and on the Pfizer RxPathways website, as well as sending out emails to r patients and healthcare providers affected by the storm. Pfizer RxPathways can be reached toll-free at 1-844-989-PATH (7284), Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm ET.

Additional Contact Information:

  • Accredo/Curascript/ExpressScripts: 1-866-FightPH (1-866-344-4874)
  • Cigna Tel-Drug: 1-855-326-7463
  • CVS/Caremark: 1-877-242-2738
  • Humana Specialty Pharmacy: 1-855-478-8405
  • OptumRX: 1-855-856-0536
  • Walgreens/Medmark: 1-888-347-3416

PHA will provide periodic updates as more information becomes available.