The Official Portal for the State of Georgia

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue
Georgia Seal

Governor Perdue Announces Initiatives Providing Greater Access to Quality Healthcare for Uninsured Georgians

Wednesday, May 11, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


            ATLANTA – During a press conference today with health care professionals, Governor Sonny Perdue highlighted two major initiatives to improve access to quality healthcare for low-income and uninsured Georgians – The Volunteer Medicine Act (House Bill 166), signed by the Governor yesterday, and the Together Rx Access™ Card. 

            The Volunteer Medicine Act extends state liability protections to doctors and others who provide free health care to needy Georgians.  The Department of Community Health (DCH) will be responsible for promoting the program, developing contracts with health care providers, and recruiting and training volunteers.  When acting under a contract with DCH, volunteers providing free health care will be considered a state officer or employee of the state. 

“By removing liability concerns, HB166 will promote greater access to quality health care for uninsured Georgians through the use of volunteers.  It is a cost-effective use of state resources to greatly expand the number of low-income residents receiving health care,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.  “I believe there are many doctors and health professionals ready to step forward and volunteer their time and skill to help low income Georgians with these protections in place.”

In order to receive medical or dental services under this program, individuals must be Medicaid eligible and without health insurance or insurance that covers the specific condition.  They must also meet program eligibility guidelines of DCH or the Department of Human Resources and family income must not exceed 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. 

The bill was sponsored by State Representative Mickey Channell in the House and carried by State Senator Tommie Williams in the Senate.

The Together Rx Access™ Card is a free, easy-to-use prescription savings program for people who lack prescription drug coverage.  Those enrolled in the program can access savings on more than 275 brand-name prescription products from 10 major companies, right at the pharmacy counter. 

“Together Rx Access can be of great help to those who lack prescription drug coverage.  It is a great example of the private sector stepping forward, in partnership with the state, to meet the health needs of low-income Georgians,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.

Through this program, cardholders can save approximately 25 to 40 percent – and sometimes more – on over 275 brand-name prescription products, including those used to treat diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, cancer, allergy, asthma, arthritis, and depression, which are among the most common conditions affecting Americans.  The program also offers savings on a wide range of generic products.

Together Rx Access is a national program of participating pharmaceutical companies including Abbott, AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers-Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, members of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi-Aventis Group, Takeda and T AP Pharmacetical Products.

Governor Perdue was joined by Department of Community Health Commissioner Tim Burgess; Forest Harper, national vice president for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals (Together Rx Access Partner); Tom Andrews, president of Saint Joseph's Mercy Care Services; and Roba Whiteley, executive director of Together Rx Access.