Patient Assistance Fund
Recently the Foundation established a Patient Assistance Fund to aid financially struggling patients who cannot afford medications or equipment needed at discharge. “The Fund does not cover the hospital bill,” said Fay Morgan, Foundation president/CEO. “It assists our most vulnerable patients to return to health when they return home.”
The first recipient was an 81-year-old who came to the hospital for a procedure related to newly diagnosed cancer. At discharge, she was to go home on blood thinners for two weeks, a best practice standard to prevent blood clots and unfortunately very expensive. The fund helped her purchase the blood thinning medication to help her through the post-operative period.
A 62-year-old patient, hospitalized four times in one year for cardiac issues, still works but does not have insurance coverage through his employer. His cardiac issues could be easily controlled through medication management, but the cost is very high. He was hospitalized again in February and discharged to home only to return nine days later with the same medical issues. The fund was able to break this cycle and cover the medications that he needed to stay well.
The fund supported a 76-year-old patient in severe heart failure. She needed a defibrillator vest to detect and treat a life-threatening heart rhythm should it occur at home. The fund was able to cover a portion of the first month cost and get her home, while the family made long-term payment arrangements.
Cancer Care Fund
The Cancer Care Fund is in place specifically for oncology patients whose financial stability has been negatively affected by their diagnosis. A course of treatment can be very expensive and take months or years. For those who qualify, the fund helps pay for basic needs during treatment, such as medicine, transportation, housing and food.
Mary Ann Thomas’ husband was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2007. Doctors at UPMC Passavant successfully removed the tumor, but discovered it had metastasized from his lungs. He succumbed to the disease in 2011. The following year, Mary Ann was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her three-year battle against cancer left her with deep financial scars, even with Medicare and health insurance.
“This takes such a huge pressure off patients, who are stressed enough by the diagnosis of cancer,” said oncologist John Comerci, MD, pictured above reviewing a patient's scan with Kayla Bylinowski, PA-C.