Above and beyond. Two words that keep coming up when Tom and MaryAnn Oehlerking talk about Marsha Sneller. As the certified pharmacy technician (CPhT) at the June E. Nylen Cancer Center (JENCC), Marsha is the face behind the Medically Integrated Dispensary, or “MID” for short.
With 11 years of certified pharmacy tech experience, Marsha has a diverse background. When she started at JENCC in July of 2017, a month before the MID opened, Marsha knew in her heart she had found her calling. “I learn something new every day. And a new oral oncology drug comes out every month,” Marsha says. With close family members affected by cancer, empathy for cancer patients and their caregivers comes naturally for her.
As the only person at the MID, Marsha understands the medication process from beginning to end. She starts by coordinating patient appointments with medication pickup at the MID to make it convenient for patients and caregivers. In addition to oral medications for a patient’s diagnosis, Marsha can fill antibiotic prescriptions and medicines for side effects. She prides herself in providing a 24-hour turnaround time for completing prescription orders, including pre-authorization from a myriad of insurance companies and working with foundations to provide co-pay assistance.
Insurance companies prefer mail-order pharmacies for cost savings, which is fine for patients without cancer. However, according to a survey performed by the National Community Oncology Dispensing Association, Inc. (NCODA), the “high acuity and monitoring required for patients with cancer do not align with mail-order dispensing.”
Receiving oral medications through a mail-order service can delay life-saving treatment by days, or even weeks.
Marsha, a member of NCODA, understands the importance of working quickly so patients can receive better care and achieve more positive outcomes. So when Tom transitioned from commercial insurance to Medicare, Marsha stepped in to line up assistance for his high-priced chemotherapy medicine (which increased dramatically to around $1,800 per month). Marsha has contacts at seven foundations that provide grants for co-pays; some are for patients with a certain type of cancer, while others are for patients who meet specific criteria set by the foundation. If none of the foundations can provide assistance to a patient, Marsha goes directly to the source – the pharmaceutical companies. Often there is some type of program available that can help. In Tom’s case, Marsha was successful in connecting him with a program that reduced his co-pay to zero.
Pleasant, easy, and comfortable. Not words that usually come to mind when thinking about cancer care and treatment. But with JENCC’s dedicated people like Marsha Sneller, CPhT going above and beyond for you, you’ll also experience hope, compassion, and kindness. All a good prescription for living.
To learn more about the June E. Nylen Cancer Center, its Medically Integrated Dispensary, and finding hope while dealing with cancer, please call 712.252.0088