Zufall Health Centers will receive $314,500 in federal funds to benefit its pharmaceutical-delivery program and pop-up vaccination clinics for children and adults, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-5, said Dec. 20.
The funds will pay for a new delivery van and driver and for the salaries of two new pharmacists for three years.
Since starting the pharmacy-delivery service in November, Zufall has served more than 100 patients, using a van meant for other purposes.
“With this new federal investment, Zufall is bringing high-quality, affordable health care directly to our seniors, veterans and underserved populations,” Gottheimer said at a press conference at Zufall in Newton.
He was joined by Eva Turbiner, president and CEO of Zufall, and Vanessa Galante, a community programs specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“They are truly revolutionizing health care in so many ways,” the congressman said. “Think about a senior citizen who can’t drive anymore - especially far distances. Think about someone who may have trouble walking or getting up and down stairs. Or think of someone who relies on daily medication for their diabetes. Or even a parent who might be working long hours and can’t make it to the pharmacy to pick up meds for their kids.
“If people can’t get their medicine or vaccines, then it leads to more health crises and a strain on our health care system. That means longer lines at the few health centers available and - more likely than not - a higher cost for families to get the treatment they need - if they can get to the point of care at all.”
With the funds, Zufall plans to purchase a new van fitted with a vaccine fridge to deliver medicine across Sussex County. The money also will support the health center’s “Peds in the Park” program to help parents get their children up to date on vaccines and its outdoor pop-up flu and COVID-19 vaccine clinics.
By hiring a dispensing pharmacist and a clinical pharmacist, Zufall will be able to prepare and process medications faster, boosting the quality and efficiency of care. The clinical pharmacist will educate patients about the medicines they are taking and will work at pop-up vaccination clinics.
Gottheimer pointed out that there is a huge unmet need for pharmaceutical delivery in Sussex County. Many families have trouble getting their critical prescription medications, especially seniors and underserved populations.
Also, many in underserved communities do not have the ability to get to health-care centers. A recent North Jersey Health Collaborative report found that access to health care and easy and safe access to transportation, specifically to health-care facilities, were areas of significant need in Sussex County.
The report also found that there are more residents for every health-care provider in Sussex County than in the state overall.