Beginning in 2013, California RCFEs became eligible to participate in medicine donation programs thanks to the passage of SB 1329 (Simitian). CALA worked with SIRUM (Supporting Initiatives to Redistribute Unused Medicine) to pass this legislation.
We recently caught up with Dr. George Wang, director and co-founder of SIRUM, to learn more about the impact of medication donation in the state and what providers need to know to get involved.
1. What is the impact of the program since the law was enacted in 2013?
A: To date, over $40,000 work of medicine has been donated by Assisted Living communities in California. Twenty-eight communities across the state have participated, making almost 70 separate donations helping an estimated 1,000 patients receive medicine they otherwise would not have been able to afford.
2. Am I eligible to donate medication?
A: The following requirements must be met for RCFEs to donate:
- Have at least 16 beds
- Centrally store medications
- Have lot number on all blister-packed medications
- Have had a DSS annual or random inspection within last two years or be newly licensed within last 12 months
If you have questions, SIRUM can help you determine your eligibility.
3. How do I sign up my community to participate in the medicine donation program?
A: It’s as simple as visiting www.sirum.org and clicking the “Sign Up” button at the top of the page. You will be prompted to enter information about your community and choose a log-in password. SIRUM will then reach out to you and help you start collecting redistributable medicine.
4. What medications can be donated?
A: Recyclable medications depend on the needs of county pharmacies, and SIRUM will let you know what they’re looking for. All donated medications must be in tamper-evident packaging or bubble-pack cards. As Dr. Wang says, “If it’s not sealed, it’s not acceptable.” The HIPAA information, including patient name and prescription number, must be removed. All donated medicine has to be centrally stored in proper conditions. Controlled substances cannot be donated.
5. Why should I participate?
A: According to SIRUM:
California facilities, including Assisted Living, destroy an estimated $100 million of medicine every year. By choosing to donate unused medicine your facility can: reduce drug destruction costs, which can cost up to $3/pound; save staff time from “popping out pills” for destruction; become a community leader in sustainable healthcare practices; and receive quarterly reports with the estimated number of patients you helped.
Assisted Living communities who participate in medicine donation can save money for themselves and the state, help fellow citizens, and take pride in the fact that they are leading the way to a healthier California. Learn more about medicine donation and sign up to be a part of this worthwhile program.