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CVS Caremark, Rhode Island Free Clinic partner to help underserved Rhode Islanders

(L to R) Marie Ghazal of Rhode Island Free Clinic, Governor Lincoln Chafee and Larry Merlo of CVS Caremark

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — CVS Caremark and the Rhode Island Free Clinic have announced a partnership to help the uninsured, working poor in Rhode Island get access to the vital medications they need. Through this collaboration, the clinic’s patients can get prescriptions filled at no cost, and can receive face-to-face pharmacist counseling at three CVS/pharmacy locations in the greater Providence area.

“We are so appreciative of this invaluable partnership with CVS Caremark,” stated Marie Ghazal, CEO of the Rhode Island Free Clinic. “We provide free, comprehensive health care to approximately 2,000 uninsured Rhode Islanders each year, and this partnership will provide them with increased access and expert counsel for the medications they need.” Prior to the partnership, the clinic relied on dozens of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who were donating their time to fill the nearly 15,000 prescriptions needed by patients each year.

CVS Caremark began partnering with the Rhode Island Free Clinic in 2010 when the company awarded the clinic a $50,000 grant from its Foundation — the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust — to help cover the costs of prescriptions needed by the clinic’s patients. As the number of patients that the clinic was serving increased, the clinic became concerned about maintaining the quality of their pharmacy program and reached out to CVS Caremark for an innovative solution to this growing need.

“At CVS Caremark, we have a strong philanthropic focus on providing access to quality health care to underserved populations, making our work with the Rhode Island Free Clinic a natural fit,” stated Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark. “This partnership allows us to help Rhode Islanders on their path to better health by connecting them with our pharmacists who can provide counseling and support.”

Merlo noted that the enhanced offerings of the partnership will also allow the clinic to prioritize their limited resources and focus on providing quality healthcare services to Rhode Islanders who need it most.

Through the strengthened partnership between CVS Caremark and the Rhode Island Free Clinic, patients of the clinic can get their prescriptions filled at no cost at three CVS/pharmacy locations in the state. These locations, requested by the clinic based on where their patients live, include CVS/pharmacy stores at 309 Broad Street in Central Falls, 1195 Oaklawn Avenue in Cranston and 960 Broad Street in Providence.


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