Funding Of New Prescription Assist Program Draws Fire

FRANKFORT, KY -- While cutting funds for Kentucky Homeplace -- citing budget constraints -- state officials are putting money into a new prescription-assistance program announced by Gov. Steve Beshear in October.

Homeplace supporters question the funding, saying it's an attempt to replace an award-winning, established program with something that will handle only part of Homeplace's mission, which is to link rural Kentuckians with free medication and social and health services while also providing home visits and disease prevention.

When the Kentucky Prescription Assistance Program "came on board, Kentucky Homeplace was torpedoed," said Donna Herndon, a health activist in Murray.

In December, the state cut $750,000 from Homeplace's $2 million budget after the program had already used about $1 million. This effectively shut it down, at least through June, the end of the fiscal year.

Meanwhile, the legislature appropriated a total of $1 million in fiscal years 2009 and 2010 for the new prescription assistance program, also known as KPAP.

State officials say the two moves are unrelated, and admit the new program can't replace Homeplace, reports The Louisville Courier-Journal.

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