Editor's Note: This is part of a series of Patient Advocate Guest Columns and Podcasts, launched as a forum for patient advocates to address a topic, issue, or trend within the cancer community through Cancer.Net, the patient information website of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Patient Access Network Foundation: Providing Financial Solutions for Patients
A patient advocate guest column by: Patrick McKercher, President, Patient Access Network Foundation (www.panfoundation.org )
Many patients today are faced with a very difficult scenario: insurance coverage may not be enough to cover the cost of prescription drugs and they may have to make a decision to either cut back on medications, pick a less expensive alternative, or forego treatment altogether.
The Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation  understands that time is critical when it comes to unusually expensive medications for chronic diseases. We provide funding to support the share of cost for qualifying individuals who are unable to afford necessary treatments for any of 41 chronic or life-threatening illnesses that PAN supports.
PAN's financial relief can come as quickly as the next day. Since 2004, PAN has ensured quick access to treatment and continuity of patient care. PAN awards individual grants ranging from $500 to $10,000 per year (depending on the disease) to cover the cost of co-payments, deductibles, and co-insurance to federally and/or commercially insured patients. Patients are approved for a full 12 months of assistance at a time.
An independent, national, 501 (c) (3) organization, PAN has assisted more than 132,000 underinsured individuals by providing approximately $186 million in co-payment assistance. Ninety percent of every dollar donated to PAN goes directly to patients.
PAN is making a difference in people's lives
Data show that before receiving assistance from PAN, only 42% of respondents were able to take their medications as prescribed, due to financial hardship. After receiving assistance from PAN, the compliance rate jumped to 98%. Nearly 99% of patients and providers are satisfied with PAN services because of the easy application process, knowledgeable and highly trained caseworkers, and quick application response time.
Forget the confusing paperwork
PAN has slashed paperwork clutter, saving valuable time and dollars. Approved individuals receive electronic benefit cards to ensure seamless and accelerated electronic claims submissions. PAN relies on strong working relationships with physicians and specialty pharmacists for quality service. PAN's Provider and Specialty Pharmacy Portals make it quick and easy to submit patient enrollment forms, verify with electronic signatures, check the status of patient accounts, and process claims around the clock.
Patients can get started today
It's a harsh reality; facing dramatically rising deductibles and co-pays. Even insured patients with chronic diseases are struggling to pay for the medications they need. The Patient Access Network Foundation is here to help. PAN's easy-to-use application process pre-screens applicants and tentatively approves those qualified within 24 hours. People may apply for assistance from PAN by visiting www.panfoundation.org , calling 866-316-PANF, or by using our Provider or Specialty pharmacy online portals.
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The ideas and opinions expressed by the author and organization in this Patient Advocate Guest Column and Podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The mention of any product, service, organization, activity, or therapy in this column should not be construed as an ASCO endorsement. The information presented does not constitute medical or legal advice, and is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of individual conditions or as a substitute for consultation with a licensed medical professional. ASCO assumes no responsibility for any injury or damage to persons or property arising out of or related to the information presented.
Last Updated: June 28, 2012