New Partnership Offers UTEP Students Pharmacy Access in the Community

Alfred Hijar’s ability to collect his diabetes medication from a pharmacy during the day was previously impacted by his loaded schedule.

Between attending classes at The University of Texas at El Paso, volunteering at health fairs and charity walks, and raising four children, Hijar needed access to a pharmacy that was affordable, near his home, and, above all, open after 5 p.m.

A senior in UTEP’s undergraduate nursing program, Hijar was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2007. A glucose test at the UTEP Student Health and Wellness Center showed that his blood sugar level was high above normal blood glucose levels.

Hijar immediately went to the emergency room at University Medical Center (UMC). Doctors prescribed medication to treat his diabetes, which Hijar has refilled at the UMC pharmacy ever since.

“When I was first diagnosed, I would always come to the UMC pharmacy on Alberta Avenue to get my prescriptions, but now UMC has pharmacies throughout the city,” Hijar said. “The pharmacies are very convenient and prices are low. It’s better because there are a lot of students like me that don’t have health insurance.”

A satisfied customer for more than 10 years, Hijar is pleased with a new partnership between UTEP and UMC that will provide greater access to pharmacy services for thousands of UTEP students.

Starting Jan. 2, 2019, students will be able to purchase their prescriptions at any of UMC’s seven pharmacies located throughout El Paso.

The partnership provides students an alternative to the pharmacy services that were offered at the Student Health and Wellness Center until Dec. 14, 2018.

Students will benefit from services that were not available at the UTEP pharmacy such as citywide locations and longer hours. UMC pharmacies are open until 7 p.m. at most locations, Monday through Saturday. Prescriptions can be purchased at equal or lower cost than students would have paid at the UTEP pharmacy. They also will be able to use health insurance to pay for prescriptions. This option was not available previously at the Student Health and Wellness Center.

“This new partnership provides enhanced services for UTEP students,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “Their access to affordable pharmaceutical services will now be offered during expanded hours at multiple locations across the community. We thank our partners at UMC for not only enabling us to broaden our pharmaceutical services for UTEP students, but for their collaborations with us on so many other fronts as well.”

Throughout the years, UMC has played a major role in in educating UTEP students through programs and initiatives with the College of Health Sciences and School of Nursing.

According to Jacob Cintron, UMC president and chief executive officer, UMC’s new collaboration with UTEP is in line with the hospital’s mission to provide greater access to care for all El Pasoans.

“UTEP students are part of our El Paso family, our friends, our neighbors and the future leaders in our community,” said Cintron, who earned a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees from UTEP. “Through this program, we are hoping to take one less concern away from students so they can focus on their education while having much greater access to the prescriptions they need, at the same low prices they’ve come to expect.”

Catie McCorry-Andalis, Ed.D., associate vice president and dean of students, said that partnerships with the medical community across the region are instrumental to students’ success.

After assessing the health care needs of students, UTEP’s Division of Student Affairs, the College of Health Sciences and the Student Government Association worked with UMC to provide students access to pharmacy care in the community.

Convenient pharmacy access will now be among the list of healthcare services available to UTEP students, which also includes affordable health insurance through the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) and medical care at the Student Health and Wellness Center.

“The partnership with UMC will enable our students to seek services and support in their home community in addition to what is available to them on campus,” McCorry-Andalis said. “Access to medical care including pharmaceuticals when needed, is critical to our students success in and out of the classroom.”