LIGHTNING RELEASES: Hampton, VA (5/5/2014) – Since launching its Heart Valve CareLine last March, the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF), a national non-profit organization with extensive experience in patient-focused case management, has assisted patients with heart valve conditions in dealing with healthcare access issues and the financial complexities of their care. The CareLine staff worked with patients through one-on-one interaction to resolve access issues and help obtain more than $325,000 in coordinated debt relief that would otherwise have posed a significant financial burden.
The Heart Valve CareLine – a national, toll-free patient and provider hotline designed to provide free healthcare information and crucial case management assistance for patients who have been diagnosed with heart valve conditions – was started by PAF in 2013 thanks to a generous donation from The Edward Lifesciences Fund. The toll-free hotline is staffed by a team of professional case managers from PAF.
“Patients with heart valve conditions require significant ongoing care and surgical therapy which, unfortunately, may present hurdles for patients because of cost and the complexities of navigating the healthcare environment,” said Alan Balch, CEO of PAF. “Forgoing or delaying this care can be life-threatening for patients experiencing heart valve issues, so this program has been especially critical to the patients we’ve served and we continue to be incredibly thankful to The Edward Lifesciences Fund for the generous financial gifts to support the CareLine.”
The complexity of the healthcare issues facing patients with heart valve needs was reflected in the time spent by PAF’s staff. Case managers made approximately 27 contacts for each heart valve patient served – significantly higher than PAF’s average case in 2013 of 19.44 contacts per patient case.
Due to the significant needs of the patients who have contacted the Heart Valve CareLine during the first year, PAF is announcing a new Heart Valve Financial Aid Fund, which will offer one-time grants of $1,000 for patients diagnosed with heart valve conditions. The grants will be available to CareLine patients in active treatment in order to cover expenses associated with heart valve treatments and transportation costs related to getting to treatment.
“We are hopeful that the availability of these grants will allow more patients to receive proper and timely treatment for heart valve issues, and ease the burden on themselves and their families during what can be a financially and emotionally difficult time,” said Balch.
According to PAF’s CareLine data, 80 percent of the patients seeking heart valve care assistance last year earned less than $23,000 annually. Nearly 65 percent were either disabled or unemployed, and approximately 30 percent were uninsured. The total amount of debt relief provided by PAF during the first year equated to $325,077.78, obtained through charitable organization contributions, services and bill balances reduced through negotiation, insurance reimbursement adjustments, or funds secured to offset cost of living expenses.
Patients can reach the Heart Valve CareLine toll-free at 1-866-318-7892 for case management assistance or for more information about the Financial Aid Fund. Additional details are also available at HeartValve.pafcareline.org. PAF’s Heart Valve CareLine case managers are available to assist Monday through Thursday from 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. and Friday from 8:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Eastern Time.
About Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF): PAF is a national non-profit organization, established in 1996, that seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of financial stability relative to their diagnosis of chronic, life threatening or debilitating disease. Patient Advocate Foundation has been consistently rated as a 4-star “exceptional” charity by Charity Navigator, the foremost independent evaluator of charities in the United States. For more information about Patient Advocate Foundation, please visit www.patientadvocate.org.
About Edwards Lifesciences and The Edwards Lifesciences Fund: Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE: EW) is the global leader in the science of heart valves and hemodynamic monitoring. Driven by a passion to help patients, the company partners with clinicians to develop innovative technologies in the areas of structural heart disease and critical care monitoring that enable them to save and enhance lives. In 2004, the company established The Edwards Lifesciences Fund at the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program to support advancements in knowledge and improvements in quality-of-life, focusing primarily upon cardiovascular disease and the communities where its employees live and work. The Fund’s mission is fulfilled by making grants to qualified charitable organizations. Additional information about the company and its Fund can be found at www.edwards.com.