Web Producer: Amber Griswold
When Governor-Elect Mitch Daniels takes office in January, Hoosier seniors and low income patients will have a new way to find cheaper prescription drugs.
They can search online with the help of a website created by an Evansville doctor and his son. But that site will likely undergo some changes between now and then.
Candidate Mitch Daniels found out about gravesrx.com after reading a news release about how the site was in need of funding. He embraced the idea after a meeting last month with the site's creator. And now, the hope is as Governor Mitch Daniels, he will make the site more widely available and more user friendly.
Internist Mark Graves conceived gravesrx.com, spent many hours refining it and promoting it. But he will have no problem handing it over to the state of Indiana when Mitch Daniels becomes Governor.
Mark Graves, M.D. of Internal Medicine, explained, "It was a feeling of relief that there is somebody in a position of authority who was going to make something happen."
Relief because his 22-year-old son Chris was spending nearly all of his free time at Northwestern University maintaining the site. But more so, he says, is the fact that more low income patients will be able to use this search engine to take advantage of drug discounts offered by manufacturers.
That's very different from the existing Hoosier RX program created by the late Governor Frank O'Bannon. Funds from the tobacco settlement offset the cost of prescriptions, but Doctor Graves says his patients often find that money tops out at a thousand dollars or so.
Dr. Graves commented, "Once you sign up for anything that includes Hoosier RX, none of these programs will give you any free drugs."
Yet, some patients in certain income brackets would be better off sticking with Hoosier RX. Doctor Graves hopes once the state takes over his site, it will have a feature on it that will be able to help patients find the best deal, whether it be Hoosier RX, gravesrx or Medicaid.
Also, instead of having to fill out several applications, he's hoping the state will streamline them into one simple form.
Dr. Graves said, "You can then have a doctor-friendly system that physicians can embrace and that is a very important piece of making something not only widely available but widely utilized."
And since it's online, he's hoping the state will appoint workers to visit community centers to walk seniors through the various steps.
Governor-Elect Mitch Daniels isn't working on taking over the website just yet. Instead, he's scheduled a reunion tour for the early part of next week, taking another road trip in the RV he campaigned in to thank voters all over the state.