A Richmond-based nonprofit focused on increasing access to critically needed medications for Virginians with limited income, Rx Partnership, has launched a prescription mailing program that enables partner clinics across the state to send prescriptions directly to patients’ homes rather than patients picking up their medications in person.
The mail delivery program, which was designed and launched in just 30 days, aims to reduce the possible exposure to the virus for patients, clinic staff, and volunteers and ensures that patients with chronic conditions receive vital medication in a timely manner. It comes at no additional cost to partner clinics or patients and provides a 90-day supply of medication to recipients.
“Mail delivery was a part of our long-term strategic plan to further our mission of increasing medication access for vulnerable Virginians,” said Amy Yarcich, Rx Partnership’s Executive Director. “While the last four months have been extremely challenging for everyone, it has been particularly devastating for low-income and uninsured Virginians who already struggle to get their much-needed medications. Launching mail delivery now was essential.”
“Initially, our plan was for the program to run through July 31 but given its success so far and the ongoing need, we are excited to extend it until at least the end of the year.”
Rx Partnership works with 31 clinics across the state, including CrossOver Healthcare Ministry in the Greater Richmond Region. So far, ten clinics are participating in the program, which has given Virginia patients the opportunity to receive medications without putting themselves or others at risk.
“Under normal circumstances, transportation to pick up medications from the clinic can be a challenge for our patients; given the current climate, it’s been even more difficult to do so,” said Julie Bilodeau, CEO at CrossOver Healthcare Ministry. “This program is so valuable because it has allowed our patients to stay safe during the pandemic and still access the medicine they need to stay healthy.”
The prescription mailing program was made possible by generous donations from individuals and community partners in Richmond and throughout the state.
City hires former Richmond 300 project manager as the manager of new Office of Equitable Development
In her new position and in leading the new office, she will focus on working across city departments to plan for and facilitate the creation of the more sustainable, beautiful, and equitable city envisioned by Richmonders in the master plan.
Maritza Mercado Pechin will serve as a Deputy Director within the Planning & Development Review Department and will manage the city’s new Office of Equitable Development.
Pechin formerly served as the project manager for the city’s master plan, Richmond 300: A Guide for Growth. In her new position and in leading the new office, she will focus on working across city departments to plan for and facilitate the creation of the more sustainable, beautiful, and equitable city envisioned by Richmonders in the master plan.
“Richmond 300 is a roadmap for the Richmond we want to be after 300 years of tumultuous history,” said Mayor Stoney. “This office, under the leadership of a tested public servant and planning professional, will start us down that road.”
The office is housed under the Department of Planning and Development Review but will work laterally across the entire Planning and Economic and Community Development portfolio. This will allow office staff to coordinate and collaborate with staff citywide to realize the vision detailed in Richmond 300: A Guide for Growth.
Pechin will report directly to DCAO for Economic and Community Development Sharon Ebert and work closely with the Office of the CAO and Mayor.
“The process to create Richmond 300 was expansive and inclusive, and now, the fun of implementation begins. I am honored to join the city staff to execute the recommendations outlined in the plan so that Richmond 300 is truly a guide to creating a more equitable, sustainable, and beautiful Richmond, and not just a plan that sits on a shelf,” said Pechin.
“Richmond 300 set a new bar for community engagement,” said Acting CAO Lincoln Saunders. “Establishing this office will enable the administration to work across the department to build on that model, pursuing growth in an inclusive and equitable way.”
“I am delighted to be working with Maritza,” said DCAO Sharon Ebert. “Her expertise in planning, organizing and implementing inspired great confidence throughout the community engagement process for and writing of the Richmond 300 Plan.”
Richmond health districts enter Phase B1 of COVID vaccinations, which includes first responders, teachers, other essential workers
First responders, corrections and homeless shelter workers, and teachers and school staff are among the essential workers eligible for the vaccination under phase 1B.
The local health districts of the Richmond Metropolitan Area, which includes Chesterfield, Chickahominy, Henrico, and Richmond, will begin expanding their COVID-19 vaccination campaigns to include some Phase 1b frontline essential workers on Monday, January 18th.
Specifically, workers in the first three categories of Phase 1b, will now be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines will be administered through a combination of regional mass vaccination events, as well as partnerships with various providers. Vaccination of Phase 1a populations will continue as the region opens up to Phase 1b.
“We know that the burden of this disease and the underlying social vulnerabilities that put these essential workers at risk do not end at the boundaries of our city and counties,” said Dr. Melissa Viray, Acting Director for Richmond and Henrico Health Districts. “It makes the most sense to coordinate our vaccination efforts and make sure all of our communities have access to the best tool we have to end the pandemic.”
The first three categories of Phase 1b frontline essential workers include:
- Police, Fire, and Hazmat
- Corrections and homeless shelter workers
- Childcare/PreK-12 Teachers/Staff
Individuals in these categories will start to have the opportunity to receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at one of three large-scale regional vaccination clinics beginning next week.
“Many school teachers and staff in our jurisdictions have courageously shown up for in-person instruction throughout this pandemic in order to serve their students’ needs and to provide the best education possible. This vaccine offers a shield of protection and a beacon of hope for this group of essential workers,” says Dr. Tom Franck, Director of Chickahominy Health District.
Next week’s COVID-19 vaccination events are taking place in addition to each local health districts’ ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts for qualified individuals. Metro area districts are exploring ways to move deeper into the 1b vaccine eligible group as additional resources become available to distribute vaccine more broadly.
“VDH is continuing to work with pharmacies, hospital systems, and medical practices to establish the infrastructure to more quickly and effectively distribute available resources and vaccinate others who are part of 1b and beyond,” says Dr. Alex Samuel, Director of Chesterfield Health District.
Veteran baker to open brick and mortar bakery operation in Lakeside
Up All Night Bakery, a new brick and mortar for 20-year baking veteran Jonathan Highfield, will take over the former Pulp RVA space at 5411 Lakeside Avenue.
From Richmond BizSense:
Jonathan Highfield has kneaded dough for about 20 years, both in the employment of and instruction of others. This year, he’s baking a venture entirely of his own creation.
He recently signed a lease on 5411 Lakeside Ave., where he plans to open a production facility for his Up All Night Bakery by March.
Up All Night was launched as a part-time gig in late 2019, making croissants, breads, cookies and other baked goods that are sold at farmers markets and to a few wholesale customers around town.
Highfield currently bakes in the kitchen of the Early Bird Biscuit Co.’s Bellevue Avenue location during the business’s off-hours. He said he decided to move Up All Night elsewhere because he had outgrown the Early Bird space.