A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action

Medication Assistance Program

Last Revised: Mar 04, 2011 - Initial Posting: May 30, 2003

Community Action of Southeast Iowa has developed the Medication Assistance Program to help persons with chronic health conditions gain access to prescription drugs that they otherwise could not afford.


Community Action of Southeast Iowa created the Medication Assistance Program (MAP) that works by identifying the availability of free or reduced priced prescription drugs through direct contact with pharmaceutical companies.  Various resources are available to identify participating companies and medications that are covered.

Information on the availability of specific medications is identified through NeedyMed$.  This website provides a listing of companies and drugs, along with periodic updates.  A manual can also be ordered for reference purposes.

Referrals into MAP are received from area physicians and human services organizations.  Eligibility is determined according to the individual pharmaceutical company’s criteria.  Likewise, the method of contacting companies will vary (i.e. on-line requests in some cases, telephone or fax in others).  NeedyMeds.com has a page for each covered medication that includes:

  • Pharmaceutical company name, address, toll-free phone number, and fax number
  • Guidelines and notes
  • Initiating enrollment information
  • Health provider’s role
  • Patient’s role (i.e. have minimum information on file and provide required signature)
  • How medication is dispensed (i.e. shipped to physician or address designated by physician)
  • Amount dispensed, refill provisions and limits

Other resources identified by Virtual CAP while collecting information on NeedyMed$ are:

The ten most frequent conditions people are being assisted with are:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hyperlipidema (high cholesterol)
  • CHF (Congestive Heart Failure)
  • Cardiac Arhythmias/Dysrhythmias
  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Chronic Pain
  • Asthma
  • Anxiety/Depression

MAP is coordinated by a Medication Assistance Program Specialist who works 30 hours/week and who also serves on the MAP Advisory Committee.

The program is funded from grants from the Great River Health Systems Community Endowment Foundation, as well as local donations from a church, banks, professional clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis), local businesses and private donations.  There are no fees charged for the service.

Most of the medications are sent to the doctor's office and the client picks them up there.  Some pharmaceutical companies send the medications directly to the client.  Community Action of Southeast Iowa never receives any of the medications nor does the agency register with pharmaceutical companies.

The benefits of MAP include improved health through greater access to prescribed medications, along with reduced financial stress to low- and moderate-income families.  Community Action of Southeast Iowa’s success with MAP is reflected in newspaper coverage.


From late 2002 through September 2009, MAP has helped over 1,400 people save over $2,900,000 in their prescription costs.  A number of people have been able to obtain medications that otherwise would have cost them over $500/month.


Sharon Ford, Executive Director