We recently spoke with Natasha Olson, a devoted oncology pharmacist at Summit Cancer Centers in Spokane, Washington. In the interview below, Natasha shares the heartbreaking reality of high healthcare costs and how she goes the extra mile to connect patients with help to afford their treatment.
What inspires you to go to work every day?
I love helping to make a difference in someone’s life, even if they have no idea, from finding funding to just spending a little extra time with a patient. I find it an extreme blessing in my own life to bless others through my work.
How do high out-of-pocket costs impact your patients?
Working in oncology, I know even great insurance has high co-pays. Most of our patients are of Medicare age and do not have much disposable income. There have been times when patients refuse treatment because of the cost. Besides, “I cannot afford it,” a phrase I often hear is “I do not want to have to burden my family with that cost.”
How has the PAN Foundation impacted your patients?
The PAN Foundation does an amazing job at helping to ease the burden of these high co-pays.
PAN has made a HUGE impact on our patients’ ability to get the lifesaving and extending medications that they desperately need.
What do you think of the PAN Foundation portal?
The portal is very easy to use, from applying to checking grant balances and even renewal. We use many foundations, and I personally find the PAN Foundation’s portal the easiest to use.
Do you use FundFinder, our patient assistance app? If so, tell us about how you use it.
Every single day! I love the concept of the FundFinder and was over the moon for the launch. We anxiously awaited the launch of FundFinder and have used it every day since. I love the feature that notifies you when a fund you have been waiting for opens back up. It is so much easier than checking eight different websites multiple times a day.
What’s something important to know about you that’s not on your resume?
My willingness to try new things and learn new things. Not just in my work setting, but anywhere. I am very ambitious and curious about learning new skills, especially in the realm of home improvement, from sprinklers to drywall. You would be surprised what you can do if you have the willingness to learn!
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