Washington, DC, February 19, 2015 – The Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation is proud to announce the launch of its newest financial assistance program, aimed at providing help and hope to patients being treated for Parkinson’s disease. The new fund will be one of nearly 60 disease-specific funds offered by PAN, spanning programs for cancer, chronic illnesses and rare diseases.
“As many as one million people in the U.S. are affected by Parkinson’s disease. The PAN Foundation’s new Parkinson’s disease fund will help eligible individuals and their families by paying for the out-of-pocket costs of critical medications. In this way, we can reduce the financial barriers to treatment, and hopefully improve the quality of life for many people living with Parkinson’s” said PAN President and CEO Daniel Klein.
Patients who qualify for PAN’s Parkinson’s disease fund are eligible to receive up to $16,500 per year to cover costs associated with their medications. To qualify, applicants need to have insurance that covers the medication for which they seek assistance, they need to reside and receive treatment in the United States and need to have a household income less than or equal to 500 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the onset of Parkinson’s usually occurs around 60 years of age. A study by the Kaiser Family Health Foundation found that Medicare beneficiaries with Parkinson’s disease have high out-of-pocket costs (on average, $5,841 per year), a third of which is for traditional Medicare-covered services. Medicare beneficiaries make up approximately 85 percent of PAN grantees.
“The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) applauds PAN for its efforts to make currently available treatments more widely accessible to the nearly one million Americans living with Parkinson’s disease,” said Karen Smith, Vice Chair of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation’s People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council. “At PDF, we know that empowering people with Parkinson’s to take charge of their disease begins with access to the latest treatments and resources.”
“Our own research has shown that in Parkinson’s, expert care can not only improve quality of life, it can extend and save lives,” said Joyce Oberdorf, President and CEO of the National Parkinson Foundation. “The Patient Access Network Foundation is to be commended for launching a financial assistance program to help people living with Parkinson’s access such expert care in their community.”
About Parkinson’s disease (PD)
Parkinson’s disease belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders, which are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. The four primary symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw and face; rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; and postural instability, or impaired balance and coordination. As these symptoms become more pronounced, patients may have difficulty walking, talking or completing other simple tasks. Other symptoms may include depression and other emotional changes; difficulty in swallowing, chewing and speaking; urinary problems or constipation; skin problems; and sleep disruptions.
Parkinson’s disease usually affects people over the age of 50. There are currently no blood or laboratory tests that have been proven to help in diagnosing sporadic Parkinson’s disease. Therefore the diagnosis is based on medical history and a neurological examination. The disease can be difficult to diagnose accurately. Doctors may sometimes request brain scans or laboratory tests in order to rule out other diseases.
About the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation® (PDF®)
The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation® (PDF®) is a leading national presence in Parkinson’s disease research, education and public advocacy. PDF works for the nearly one million people in the US who live with Parkinson’s disease by funding promising scientific research while supporting people living with Parkinson’s disease through educational programs and services. Since its founding in 1957, PDF has dedicated over $105 million to fund the work of leading scientists throughout the world and over $44 million to support national education and advocacy initiatives. For more information, contact PDF at (800) 457-6676 or visit www.pdf.org.
About the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF)
Founded in 1957, the National Parkinson Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of care for people with Parkinson’s disease through research, education and outreach. NPF has funded more than $182 million in care, research and support services. For more information about NPF, visit www.parkinson.org, or call the NPF Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636).
About the Patient Access Network Foundation
The Patient Access Network Foundation is an independent, nationwide 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to providing help and hope to underinsured patients who are unable to afford the out-of-pocket expenses for their prescribed medications. Since 2004, PAN has provided more than 400,000 underinsured patients with over $880 million dollars in much needed financial assistance to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses across nearly 60 disease-specific programs. For applications and eligibility questions, call 1-866-316-PANF (7263). To learn more, visit www.PANfoundation.org.
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