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Virginia Cares Uninsured Program (VCUP) Announces Early Successes in Helping Uninsured Virginians Access Quality Healthcare
Date:1/15/2008

Patient Advocate Foundation Program Has Already Helped Hundreds of Uninsured Virginians with Chronic, Debilitating and Life-Threatening Illness Since its July 2007 Launch

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) -- a national, non-profit organization based in Virginia providing assistance to tens of thousands of patients every year who face access to healthcare issues due to financial or insurance denials - and the Commonwealth of Virginia announced today six-month results of the Virginia Cares Uninsured Program (VCUP), a free patient assistance program provided by PAF and the Commonwealth designed to assist uninsured Virginia residents who have been diagnosed with a chronic, debilitating or life-threatening illness and are experiencing difficulties accessing appropriate healthcare.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of the Census, approximately 47.6 million Americans do not have any form of health insurance. The 2005 Census estimates that in Virginia alone, there are 952,000 uninsured adults and 156,000 uninsured children, translating to approximately 12.8 percent of the state's population. Uninsured patients such as these face a variety of serious medical debt and access to care crises - such as being unable to access needed medical care and screenings, fill prescribed medications or pay existing medical bills - that can significantly harm their quality of care and health outcomes.

Since July 2007, the VCUP's healthcare professionals at Patient Advocate Foundation have helped more than 780 uninsured Virginians who were facing these types of issues by seeking to negotiate funding and/or insurance coverage to access medical treatments; striving to negotiate free or reduced medications, nutrition, housing, utilities and free or reduced transportation and lodging for patients who must travel for treatment; assisting patients with obtaining insurance with COBRA, Medicaid, Medicare, Guarantee Issues Plans, HIPAA plans and FAMIS/FAMIS Select; and helping patients with applying, expediting decisions and appealing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Long Term Disability (LTD) and/or Short Term Disability.

"We are pleased to have been able to help so many of our fellow Virginians in only the first six months of the Virginia Cares Uninsured Program by providing expert case management at no charge to help patients gain access to healthcare services that meet pharmaceutical, surgical, radiation, physician and social service needs," said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, President and CEO of PAF. "Quality healthcare is a basic human need and a shared social responsibility, and all Virginians should have access to a full continuum of healthcare services, particularly when diagnosed with a life-threatening illness."

VCUP highlighted six-month program successes include:

-- Providing critical information and assistance to more than 780 Virginians, 380 of whom were uninsured with serious medical conditions and required case management assistance to create access to healthcare

-- Conducting 82 outreach visits to Virginia community clinics, hospitals, Virginia Department of Social Services, and Virginia Medicaid offices to review benefits of the VCUP program for their consumers

-- Developing and distributing program information to 138 hospitals and social service offices throughout Virginia

-- Holding educational sessions with medical personnel and staff from four research hospitals, nine health departments and 13 medical clinics

-- Launching the VCUP website, http://www.pafcares.org, whereby uninsured patients can access additional information about the VCUP and PAF, download brochures and contact program case managers

-- Providing quarter to half-page display ads in Virginia newspapers informing citizens of the VCUP program

Under the construct of the VCUP, PAF case managers work closely with patients to evaluate their individual needs, striving to facilitate access to timely and appropriate care. In some cases this includes helping patients apply to state or federal programs, while in others it requires detailed investigation into local, regional and/or disease specific resources and individual healthcare providers who accept and care for indigent patients regardless of their ability to pay. The VCUP program representative also negotiates for free medications, transportation to/from medical services, and any additional underlying social service needs to facilitate access to healthcare.

To be eligible for the VCUP, a patient must be a legal resident of the United States currently residing in Virginia with a diagnosis of chronic, life-threatening or debilitating illness and must be uninsured. Additional PAF programs include Co-Pay Relief, National African American Outreach Program, Colorectal CareLine, LIVESTRONG(TM) Partnership and the National Hispanic Latino Outreach Program. For more information on the Virginia Cares Uninsured Program, visit http://www.pafcares.org or call 1-800-532-5274.

Patient Advocate Foundation is a national non-profit organization that seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability.


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SOURCE Patient Advocate Foundation
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