Welvista, a nonprofit organization, has developed a successful model committed to improving health and wellness for the uninsured and underinsured by providing access to prescription medications and pediatric dental services. Responding to an unmet need, Welvista grew out of a grassroots movement launched in 1993 in Columbia, South Carolina.
Over the past 18 years, Welvista has evolved into an organization partnering with 15 pharmaceutical companies, who donate medications, and a physician network of over 4,000, making Welvista the largest mail-order pharmacy for the uninsured in the nation. By providing a single point of access to over 200 medications that treat chronic diseases, Welvista is an affordable solution to bridge a tremendous gap in healthcare accessibility. Welvista’s effort to make essential medications available has resulted in a decrease in emergency room use and inpatient hospitalizations among our patients in South Carolina. The greater impact on our state is taxpayer dollars saved by reducing reliance on emergency room visits for basic healthcare.
Our pediatric dental centers (SMILES) focus on prevention and early intervention based on the premise that a child must be healthy in order to be ready to learn. Good oral health for children serves as a precursor to adult oral health and is essential for a child's behavioral, speech, language and overall growth and development. Our model creates a private/public partnership which provides children from limited income families in rural communities throughout South Carolina with effective oral healthcare services and education. Smiles goes a long way toward making treatment available for children to prevent more severe, long-term oral health problems.
Welvista has created comprehensive business models of providing essential medications and pediatric dental services to individuals who are unlikely to get help because of their current environment.
Welvista recognized a deficit in the healthcare system and, more significantly, recognized an opportunity for improvement. For over 18 years we have responded to a strong need for prescription assistance within South Carolina and served more than 100,000 patients who received over $150 million worth of free medications. This number is substantial, not only for the patients, but also for the healthcare providers. All of the medications that Welvista provides free are donated by our 15 pharmaceutical partners the cost of which would come directly from core operating budgets of healthcare institutions.
The downturn in the economy has led to increased unemployment, causing many to lose their employment-based coverage, just at a time when many states, facing serious budget deficits, are tightening Medicaid eligibility criteria to save money. These cutbacks have led to increased numbers of people without health insurance. Long-term consequences of high medical care costs can be dramatic, particularly for the uninsured. To obtain needed treatment, the uninsured often rely on local “safety-net” institutions that provide a significant level of services. In 2009, we had a significant increase in the number of uninsured seeking assistance with essential medications to treat chronic diseases.
Welvista has and continues to address the unique challenges faced by its patients. These programs have been developed and tested for over 18 years. Welvista is an innovative model to provide access to medical care with unprecedented partnerships with pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers, free clinics and hospitals to provide health care intervention.
Partnering Pharmaceutical Companies