LOS ANGELES, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- California minority advocacy groups including Healthy African American Families, The Wall/Las Memorias, Latina Breast Cancer Agency, Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program, and the Real Medicine Foundation today sent a letter to Blue Shield of California calling on the company to reconsider harmful and discriminatory coverage policies.
The letter to Blue Shield specifically calls for an end to the practice of step therapy, which requires patients to fail on up to five medications before Blue Shield will cover the treatment initially prescribed by a doctor. The California minority advocacy groups say that step therapy disproportionately affects minority and low-income communities in California.
"When Blue Shield denies patients access to timely and effective treatment, those who need medicine for chronic pain - including Californians suffering from arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia - are especially hurt," said Loretta Jones of Healthy African American Families in the letter. "Many in the African American and Latino communities have diabetes, which includes DPN, a painful nerve condition. When Blue Shield requires those suffering from DPN to take medication that does not relieve our pain, more than our quality of life suffers."
"When a mother suffering from DPN is forced to try multiple pain treatments that do not work, she often must miss work, and arrange childcare and travel, which threatens her livelihood and ability to provide for her family," the letter continues. "It is not only unethical, but cruel, for Blue Shield to deny a patient access to a medicine the doctor knows will relieve their pain and to require the patient to go through multiple steps of taking drugs that don't work."
The full text of the letter read:
Dear Mr. Bodaken:
We are writing to ask that Blue Shield of California change a dangerou
|SOURCE Healthy African American Families|
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