“Cherry Care didn’t start out as a formal program it started out of need,” declares our founder, Wenbo Liu, “We had members of the community who were being forced to make terribly difficult decisions, between eating or taking their medicine, between paying their rent and staying healthy. These are choices I don’t think people should have to make in the wealthiest country in the world.”
In a country where over half a million people are turning to bankruptcy each year due to medical debt, a program such as Cherry Care could potentially heal an ailing healthcare system.
The way the program works is simple:
Wenbo set up a non-profit organization that collects donations from people who can afford it, including Cherry Street Pharmacy, which contributes a percentage of earnings before profits. This non-profit organization, or pool of resources nearing almost $500,000, allows Cherry Care to cover the deductible or co-pay on medications that might otherwise be out of reach for his customers.
As a pharmacy, we’re proud to say we’ve quickly become a valued member of the community, not because we embrace new technologies and ideas, but because we apply them to serve people with a basic human right—healthcare.
“My staff is taught and trained to treat every person that comes in through the door or on the phone as a member of their own family. You're not a number, you are a person. We greet you by your name. We know exactly who you are. Building that connection and service is definitely key with Cherry Care,” says Wenbo.
After serving the Tulare community for over a year we’ve realized the impact and importance of our program. An unpredictable outcome of the program is that fewer patients are experiencing inconsistency in their dosage schedule creating fewer visits to the emergency room or urgent care.
By breaking down our commitment to Cherry Care even further, we hope to inspire you to not only share Cherry Care with those that you feel need it most, but also get involved as an investor in Cherry Street through our MicroVentures equity crowdfunding campaign.
Cherry Care Purely Charitable While Supporting Business Growth and Marketing Efforts
Outside of providing a much-needed service to those who can’t afford healthcare during these extremely difficult times, Cherry Care helps support our overall ability to rapidly scale and build new locations in underserved communities across the country.
By providing real co-pay assistance to up to 80%, we’re able to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty which helps with lowering marketing costs. The marketing dollars saved we’re able to put right back into the business to help our expansion, or put back into Cherry Care to provide co-pay assistance to the next new patient.
“It’s actually a lot more affordable than advertising, or sending out 50% off coupons,” Wenbo explains. “Besides, half-off of a medication one month only puts the patient in the same predicament the next month. Our solution provides consistent support which in turn keeps people on medication adherence programs, which keeps them coming back to the pharmacy, which keeps them healthy, and our business growing. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Ultimately, “Cherry Care started as a way to help people, to do the right thing,” Wenbo says. But it soon became clear that we go do good while doing well and it actually was more cost-effective than traditional marketing. “
Who Qualifies for Cherry Care?
If you earn $35,000 a year or are on Medical you automatically meet Cherry Care’s requirements and can receive up to 80% off your prescriptions.
It’s really as simple as that, and if you’re interested in learning more about Cherry Care and how to get started, check out “Getting Started with Cherry Care.”
“Recently, a patient of Cherry Street lost everything including his livelihood and comfortable home in Blackhawk, California. Worrying that he would be made homeless, he moved to Tulare near Cherry Street. He qualified for our services, and we were able to give him the discount he needed to stay afloat,” Wenbo remembers.
It’s these stories that touch us the most, and inspire us to continue to work relentlessly towards our vision.
The Future of Cherry Care
“Most startups or disruptors are based on being in high-density. They work because they are short distance and low cost. But what about rural communities or low-density communities?” asks Wenbo. “Don’t those people have the same needs, especially healthwise?”
What if this model could work outside of rural communities? “As part of the medical community, I felt it was my duty to become part of the medical solution as well. I believe this model could have a positive impact on the entire country.”
In the near future, Wenbo and his team are launching Cherry Clinics in rural communities that allow residents to telecommute from a central location. “Patients can come into the pharmacy and use telemedicine to see physicians. They can do labs within the pharmacy. They can go into our clinics and see our providers. All of these co-pays will then get covered by Cherry Care for people who qualify. We want to increase access to care for all these people.”
Cherry Street and Cherry Care is a revolutionary model and hitting remarkable numbers in a rural area where such success might appear unpredictable.
“I’m happy proving that doing the right thing is profitable especially in an industry where profits have been put before people for far too long.” Wenbo recently formalized Cherry Street Pharmacy as a B-Corporation.
If you’re inspired to get involved, then we hope you share our story on social media and invest in Cherry Street on MicroVentures!
For more information, we encourage you to also check out the following article: