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County rejects health idea

A prescription discount program presented at the November 9 Douglas County Board meeting could fall under the "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" category.

A prescription discount program presented at the November 9 Douglas County Board meeting could fall under the "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" category.

Sandy Tubbs, director of Douglas County Public Health, made a recommendation to the board at its Tuesday meeting to keep its present discount program offered by the National Association of Counties (NACO) and not go with the new program - TWRx.

Tubbs said she had conversations with Karin Eckdahl, an account executive with TWRx, a pharmacy benefit management company owned and operated by Thrifty White. Eckdahl is the person who presented the information to commissioners at their last board meeting.

Tubbs said that after talking with Eckdahl, the TWRx program is quite complicated and "not as straightforward as it sounded."

The TWRx program, according to previous information from Eckdahl, covered all medications, along with vision, LASIK eye surgery and hearing. The discount program is offered to those who are uninsured or underinsured.

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Tubbs said that after doing some research, she found that the Walmart vision center was the only local one that accepted the card and that it only provided a 5 percent discount on frames.

Tubbs added that there are not a lot of places that will honor the proposed discount card.

She also noted that there are other discount cards out there and that residents can take advantage of them.

"This one is not much different than what is out there," she said.

In her conversations with Eckdahl, Tubbs said she asked for information about the number of users who participate in the TWRx program. She indicated that the information sent to her was a spreadsheet from the state of New York. Apparently, she said, there is not enough data from Minnesota to provide an accurate picture.

"It's difficult to get a sense of users when the information is coming from New York," said Tubbs.

Under the NACO program, Tubbs said there are at least 45 residents each month who use the discount prescription card.

Tubbs said she spoke with Eckdahl on Monday and told her she would be making a recommendation to the board to not switch programs.

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The board did not take any action and unanimously decided to stay with the NACO program.

Related Topics: HEALTH
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