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CIGNA Capitulates to Patient Revolt
Date:12/20/2007

Following Massive Protest, Insurer Authorizes Transplant for 17-year-old

Nataline Sarkisyan

CNA/NNOC-Sponsored Protest Sparks Flood of Calls from Across U.S.

GLENDALE, Calif., Dec. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- In a stunning turn around, insurance giant CIGNA has capitulated to community demands, and protests that the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee helped to generate, and agreed to a critically needed liver transplant for Nataline Sarkisyan, a 17-year-old girl in the intensive care unit at UCLA Medical Center.

A national web of friends and family of Nataline, CNA/NNOC registered nurses, doctors, members of the Armenian community, healthcare advocates, and netroots supporters pitched in on an unprecedented national day of action on Nataline's behalf.

The centerpiece of the protests was an impassioned rally today sponsored by CNA/NNOC with the substantial help of the local Armenian community that drew 150 people to the Glendale offices of CIGNA. Hundreds of phone callers clogged the lines of CIGNA offices around the country, all demanding that CIGNA reverse its prior denial of care.

"This is an incredible turnaround generated by a massive outpouring around the country that proves that an enraged public can make a difference and achieve results," said CNA/NNOC Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro. "CIGNA had to back down in the face of a mobilized network of patient advocates and healthcare activists who would not take no for an answer."

The netroot protest was organized by Eve Gittelson, an influential health policy blogger who writes on Daily Kos as nyceve, and many of the calls were also the product of work by the Armenian National Committee.

"Nataline is now seriously ill and still has significant hurdles in her fight for her life, but thankfully our combined voices and protests have finally given her and her family hope," said Geri Jenkins, RN, a member of t
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SOURCE California Nurses Association
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