(Phoenix, Ariz. – Feb. 6, 2009) Attorney General Terry Goddard today visited El Rio Community Health Center in Tucson to award a grant of $783,423 to the Arizona Association of Community Health Centers. The funds will be used by the centers to provide prescription medications to low-income, disabled and elderly patients.
The award was accepted by Joseph Coatsworth, Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona Association of Community Health Centers, and Kathy Byrne, Executive Director of El Rio Community Health Center. Executives from community health centers across Arizona were also present.
The funds for this grant come as a result of two multi-state consumer fraud settlements the Attorney General’s Office reached in 2008 with two of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefits management companies, CaremarkRx LLC and Express Scripts, Inc. A total of $850,000 of the settlement money recovered in these cases was designated by the court to be used for the direct benefit of low-income, disabled or elderly consumers of prescription medications and to promote lower drug costs for state residents.
“Today’s award makes sure that, out of the manipulative and anti-consumer practices of these pharmacy benefit managers, Arizona reaps some tangible benefit for those least able to pay for health care,” Goddard said.
"The benefits of this funding will make an immense difference in the lives of many of our most indigent and needy patients, and we are especially grateful for this assistance from the Office of the Attorney General and to Terry Goddard for his continued leadership," Coatsworth said.
The Arizona Association of Community Health Centers is a non profit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization that works to improve the health status of Arizona’s indigent and medically underserved. It manages numerous health related programs, including a network of more than 100 primary care locations throughout Arizona. The association’s goal is to improve the health status of individuals and families who need primary care services and may not have the financial resources or health insurance to pay for them.
El Rio Community Health Center provides comprehensive health care to more than 75,000 members of the Tucson community each year. As a member of the association, El Rio will receive $180,970 for prescription medications through today’s grant.
In addition to today’s award, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office awarded a $67,000 grant to John C. Lincoln Hospital’s Desert Mission Health Center in Phoenix.