ALEXANDRIA - Wendy Roy, program director of The Rapides Foundation's Cenla Medication Access Program, has won the Louisiana Legislative Women's Caucus Foundation's 2009 Women of Excellence Award in the health and medicine category. Awards were presented at the Women of Excellence Awards Gala on May 6 in Baton Rouge.
Wendy Roy, Program Director for CMAPRoy was hired in January 2001 to help launch CMAP, a program that provides free medications to residents who are unable to pay for them. Under Roy's guidance, CMAP has become a national model, a blueprint for delivering critical medicine to the uninsured. Recently, Roy was responsible for guiding CMAP's expansion outside of Central Louisiana. Under a partnership with the Louisiana Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health, CMAP now serves 39 Louisiana parishes with plans to reach all 64.
She was nominated by Dr. Robert Freedman, an Alexandria cardiologist who praised Roy for taking a "novel program" and turning it into a model of excellence.
"Mrs. Wendy H. Roy is passionate about eliminating the vast disparities in our healthcare system's responsiveness to and among people of all social classes," he wrote. "She believes that no person in Louisiana should have health compromised because of the inability to: (1) pay for medications, or (2) properly incorporate prescribed medication into a regimen of improving and maintaining health."
Since its inception eight years ago, CMAP has helped 22,300 people across Central Louisiana to get the free prescriptions they need to maintain their health. Currently, CMAP is helping 6,000 people.
Roy is credited with negotiating collaborations with major pharmaceutical companies to reduce the time and paper work it takes for patients to receive their free prescriptions. CMAP's pharmaceutical partners are Abbott, Alcon, AstraZeneca, Falcon, Merck, Novartis and Tap.
"Mrs. Roy has created a system in which medications are donated in bulk by major pharmaceutical partners. By donation, I mean free. These medications are then dispensed to eligible uninsured people in Louisiana for free," Freedman wrote. "Without CMAP, most of the affected class would go without medications," resulting in an increase in healthcare costs.
CMAP was recognized as the "Most Outstanding Rural Health Program" by the National Rural Health Association in 2005. Roy has been called upon to make numerous presentations about CMAP at nationwide conferences, and the program has been the subject of nationally recognized scientific publications.
Joe Rosier, president and chief executive officer at The Rapides Foundation, said CMAP has literally helped to save lives, especially in these economic hard times where people are forced to make a decision between paying bills and purchasing medicine. "With CMAP, they don't have to skip their life-saving medications."
The CMAP program is offered in the Central Louisiana parishes of Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Vernon and Winn. Its expansion now includes the parishes of Acadia, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caldwell, Cameron, Claiborne, Concordia, DeSoto, East Carroll, Evangeline, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Orleans, Plaquemines, Red River, Richland, Sabine, St. Bernard, St. Landry, St. Tammany, Tensas, Union, Webster and West Carroll.
Anyone who needs help paying for their prescriptions is asked to call 1.888.443.7494 or visit www.cmaprx.org. CMAP's staff can screen the individual over the phone to determine eligibility. If eligible, the applicant will be required to complete a form and provide proper financial documentation. CMAP then will work with the applicant and his physician to fill the applicant's necessary prescriptions. This program, along with the medications, is offered free of charge.
CMAP is funded by The Rapides Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to improving the health status of Central Louisiana. CMAP's expansion to parishes outside of Central Louisiana is partly funded by the Department of Health and Hospitals under the Bureau of Rural Health and Primary Care.
The Women's Caucus created its prestigious award in 2008 to recognize and honor extraordinary women of outstanding professional excellence across the state for their achievements and contributions. One recipient was selected from each of the seven categories. A panel of five judges selected the award recipients based on background, accomplishments, contributions, community service and media impact.
Roy is the only winner from Central Louisiana. She holds a Master of Healthcare Administration from Seton Hall University, South Orange, N.J., and a Bachelor of Science from LSU. She and her husband, Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy, live in Alexandria with their daughter, Catherine.
The complete list of winners is as follows: Arts & Culture, Priscilla Lawrence, The Historic New Orleans Collection, New Orleans; Banking & Finance, Helen Godfrey Smith, Shreveport Federal Credit Union, Shreveport; Education & Research, Julia Chan, Louisiana State University Department of Chemistry, Baton Rouge; Faith Based Initiatives, Deborah A. Roe, Catholic Charities Diocese of Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge; Health and Medicine, Wendy H. Roy, Cenla Medication Access Program, Alexandria; Volunteerism & Civic Involvement, Carol McMichael Reese, Tulane University School of Architecture, New Orleans; Young Woman of Excellence (age 16 to 23), Sarah Miller, Louisiana State University Honors College, Lafayette.