What is the Urgent Rx Prescription Program?


We appreciate our community partners:

Brooks Family Foundation
Cayuga Medical Center
Green Street Pharmacy
Human Services Coalition of Tompkins County

Ithaca Free Clinic
Kinney Drugs, Inc.
United Way of Tompkins County

The Urgent Rx Prescription Program provides free prescriptions and outreach follow-up to people with urgent health needs and no health insurance. Patients can receive care at selected sites. Uninsured patients treated at the Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) Emergency Department, CMC Inpatient Unit Discharge, Convenient Care Center, and the Ithaca Free Clinic are eligible to receive vouchers for prescription medicine.  The program supports patients completing their recommended treatment plans, leading to a more timely recovery and positive impact on their health.  

Urgent Rx covers up to two weeks of urgently needed medicines.  The program covers a limited number of generic –brand medications to treat common, urgent health-related problems.  It does not cover long-term prescription medication needs.  In 2016, 1,184 prescriptions were filled across 714 vouchers at a cost of $29,596.  Prescriptions were spread evenly (33% each) across Convenient Care, Cayuga Medical Center Emergency Room, and Ithaca Free Clinic, with MC Inpatient Services accounting for only one percent of prescriptions. On average, 83% of patients used the service. The average cost per prescription was $25.55 at Convenient Care, $21.42 at the Emergency Room, and Ithaca Free Clinic at $27.81 during 2016.

Urgent Rx has filled 26,500 prescriptions and $510,904 in vouchers since the beginning of the program.  All recipients are given information to seek health insurance and more stable health care.

Urgent Rx Report Highlights

  • From January 2006 to December 2015, 24,867 prescriptions have been filled through vouchers at the cost of $469,257
  • Since the program began, 84% of Urgent Rx recipients were one or two-time users
  • In 2015, 77% of prescriptions were filled on the same day
  • The age group that fills the most prescriptions are people between 31-40 years old


“I am so appreciative that this program was there. I had pneumonia, and needed prescriptions right away that would have cost me over $100. I did not have the money and would not have been able to get that medicine.”





Thank you for supporting United Way of Tompkins County and year-round health and human services and programs, in addition to the special initiatives: Hunger & Food Security, Urgent Rx Prescription Program, and Student Engagement. For more information contact United Way of Tompkins County at (607) 272-6286 or email Kelsey Rossbach.


Urgent Rx Prescription Program 2016