2018 was full of new initiatives driven by our belief that out-of-pocket costs should not prevent anyone from accessing the medications they need. This belief has guided our efforts throughout the past year to expand the safety net for patients and to strengthen our advocacy on their behalf.
Now that 2019 is underway, we pause to reflect on the past year and how we’ve continued to expand our support for patients who cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs for their prescription medications. Here are some highlights:
Working together for patients
Rising out-of-pocket costs continue to be an obstacle for millions of Americans when it comes to accessing prescription medications. However, in 2018, thanks to our generous donors, we raised a remarkable $530.7 million that allowed us to help over 180,000 patients across 70 disease-specific assistance programs. And, we did so efficiently—95 cents of every dollar donated directly assisted patients in need.
We also opened five new assistance programs to help patients with the associated co-pay expenses for hemophilia and pulmonary hypertension and the out-of-pocket costs associated with co-pays, premiums and travel expenses for those living with inherited retinal disease.
Building a community
Seeking to reach new supporters and engage a community around the issue of underinsurance, we launched an individual giving campaign in 2018. Leveraging the power of social media, we provided education to thousands of individuals throughout the country about the adverse impacts of out-of-pocket costs on patients and their families. All of us at PAN were moved by the more than 4,000 people who visited PAN’s message wall to share stories of hope and support.
Connecting patients with financial assistance
Searching for charitable financial assistance has never been easy—and it’s something we are determined to change. In December, we launched FundFinder, a first of its kind, free web-based app that simplifies the search for charitable financial assistance. Within its first month, nearly 4,000 people signed up for FundFinder to receive email or text message notifications to learn when financial assistance becomes available from PAN or the seven other charitable foundations.
With FundFinder, patients, providers and pharmacists no longer need to manually monitor foundation websites and call daily to see if support is available.
Streamlining support for patients, providers and pharmacists
We’re committed to making the process of finding and obtaining financial assistance through PAN simple.
To that end, we’ve continued to hone our enrollment process and platforms, and our grant use policy allowed us to provide more grants to patients in need. Thanks to our provider and pharmacist community, we enrolled more than 72,000 patients through our online portals and processed 1.5 million claims. And, our call center answered over 346,000 calls from patients, providers and pharmacists this past year!
We were also grateful to interact one-on-one with thousands of providers—including pharmacists, social workers, nurses and patient navigators—at conferences throughout the country.
Lastly, patients often require more than just financial assistance. Thanks to 16 patient advocacy organizations—who work with us as dedicated alliance partners—nearly 18,000 people received follow-up education and support services for their specific diagnosis. These services included providing educational resources, enrolling them in support groups and providing one-on-one peer support.
Expanding our standard-setting compliance program
Furthering our commitment to compliance, we’ve expanded and launched a comprehensive, best-in-class Compliance Program to address the guidance issued by the Office of Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This compliance program incorporates all seven elements identified by the federal government as necessary for an effective compliance program, ensuring we meet all ethical, legal and programmatic requirements.
Building on this program, in September 2018, President and CEO Dan Klein and Chief Compliance Officer Tom Herrmann led a discussion at CBI’s Patient Assistance Program Legal Update Conference about effective compliance programs. Our efforts were nationally recognized in an article published in Compliance Today titled, “Effective Compliance for an Independent Charity Patient Assistance Program.”
Advocating on behalf of patients
Here at PAN, we strive to educate and drive policy and legislative change that will reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients.
In February 2018, we hosted our third annual Cost-Sharing Roundtable in collaboration with the American Journal of Managed Care. Bringing together thought leaders from the private and public sectors, presenters and attendees discussed the impact of rising out-of-pocket costs on medication adherence, the growing need for the safety net and policy solutions that can lower what patients pay out-of-pocket.
In June, with support from 52 patient advocacy groups, we submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in response to its Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs Request for Information. Collectively, we agreed that far too many people abandon prescriptions at the pharmacy after learning what they owe out-of-pocket. Our letter asserted that until all patients have affordable access to necessary therapies, patient assistance programs must continue the critical work of providing needed financial support to those who require costly medications to maintain or regain their health, well-being and quality of life.
Our steadfast commitment recognized
We are grateful that our commitment to patients is nationally acknowledged. In 2018, we were honored to be publicly recognized for our transparency and efficiency by:
- Forbes’ List of 100 Largest U.S. Charities, who ranked PAN number 28 on the list.
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy, who named PAN number 33 of America’s 100 Favorite Charities.
- Our community of supporters, who voted PAN us a top-rated nonprofit on GreatNonprofits.
- Kiplinger and U.S. News and World Report, who both listed PAN as a top resource for patient assistance.
- The New York Times, where President and CEO Dan Klein published an editorial about how the need for safety net programs far exceeds the help currently available to patients.
We could not do this critical, life-saving work without our donors, providers, pharmacists and advocacy community. Thank you for your generosity and overwhelming support throughout 2018—we look forward to what we will accomplish together in service of patients in 2019.
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