Governor Corbett Celebrates New Law Giving More Veterans Access to Safe, Affordable Medications

Mechanicsburg – Governor Tom Corbett today visited The Bridges at Bent Creek, a personal care community, to celebrate the passage of a new law that will give more veterans access to safe, affordable medications.

The act adds personal care homes and assisted living residences to the list of locations where discounted Veteran’s Administration (VA) medications can be repackaged for use by veterans.

“We owe a great deal to veterans, whose service and sacrifices have ensured our safety and our way of life,” Gov. Corbett said. “This new law is one more way we are showing our gratitude here in Pennsylvania.”

Right now, qualifying veterans are able to get their medications through the VA at a discounted rate. However, these medications are almost always provided in large quantities, as many as 90 pills or more, similar to mail order.

Pharmacies are also only able to repackage medication received from the VA into bubble packs (usually 30 pills per pack) for veterans who reside in a “long-term care nursing facility,” according to the Military and Veterans Code. They are not permitted to repackage medications for veterans who reside in personal care homes and assisted living residences.

Act 147 of 2014 allows pharmacies to repackage medications for veterans residing in personal care homes and assisted living residences. The law was originally signed on Oct. 14 and takes effect on Dec. 13, 2014.

Repackaging medications into smaller quantities also reduces the chance of errors. Bubble packs are the preferred means for distribution and assist caregivers in the organization and management of resident medications. Before this law, caretakers at personal care homes and assisted living residences had to dispense veterans’ medications via the bottles received from the VA.

“It’s important that we find ways to say thank you to these brave men and women each and every day,” Gov. Corbett said. “This law does exactly that. It will enable more veterans living in Pennsylvania’s personal care homes and assisted living residences to access safe, affordable medications.”

Governor Corbett was joined for the ceremonial signing of the bill at The Bridges at Bent Creek in Mechanicsburg by Sen. Pat Vance (R-Cumberland), the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Glen Grell (R-Cumberland), residents and veterans.

“Veterans, no matter where they reside, should not be prevented from utilizing their pharmaceutical benefits,” Sen. Vance said. “This law levels the playing field for these men and women who served our country. It is the least we can do.”

Dr. Stuart H. Shapiro, M.D., president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association/Center for Assisted Living Management (PHCA/CALM), which represents more than 450 long-term care and senior service providers in Pennsylvania, said the new law brings added benefits beyond just cost savings.

Shapiro added, “Governor Corbett has proven time and again that older Pennsylvanians and veterans who are among our ‘greatest generation’ get the attention and help they need to age with dignity and respect. And Senator Vance, one of the legislature’s only health care professionals, is a champion in the truest sense of the word for her devotion to the needs of these men and women. I commend them both for their hard work not only in taking on this issue, but also in seeing it through to the end so quickly. This is an important, life-enhancing benefit for veterans.”

Governor Corbett was also joined for the event by Brig. Gen. Jerry G. Beck, Jr., Deputy Adjutant General, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, as well as several veterans who are residents of The Bridges at Bent Creek.


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