Quarterly Newsletter – Spring/Summer 2020
In It Together – Adjusting to the New Normal
A Special Message from HealthWell Foundation President, Krista Zodet
I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe. Since my last letter, our nation continues to face, and try to adapt to, a multitude of changes and challenges. COVID-19 continues to plague our beautiful country and pose devastating consequences on families, businesses, schools, and life as we once knew it. The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed our lives, and now, we find ourselves just trying to figure out what normal means. The HealthWell team and I want to share our heartfelt sympathies for those who have contracted the virus, lost loved ones, jobs, homes, and access to daily necessities, such as food and essential medical services. We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to the brave men and women who serve as frontline health care workers for their dedication and service. Thank you for all that you do.
As we work through these unusual and difficult times together, the team and I stand ready to do whatever we can to assist those in need. The past several months have demonstrated that even though we are apart physically, we are in this together. We’re working to help maintain some sense of normalcy while continuing to do our part to protect ourselves, our families, and those around us. As devastating as this situation is, it reiterates that people care – that no one should have to go through this alone. I want to say a heartfelt thank you to our corporate and individual donors. Their continued trust and support of our work has enabled us to assist more than 9,000 people through our COVID-19 Ancillary Costs and COVID-19 Insurance Premium Assistance Funds. There is more work to do and, until this pandemic becomes a distant memory, we will continue to identify and implement new initiatives to help those who have nowhere else to turn. Thank you to our donors for making this possible.
Since my last letter, we have remained vigilant in carrying out our mission and in conducting business as usual. Our corporate and contact center teams never missed a beat during the stay-at-home-mandate, even as the need for our services continued to grow. In fact, we have been able to launch new funds, bring on additional teammates, welcome a new board member, and implement process improvements to enhance the HealthWell Foundation experience for those we serve.
In addition, we continued to identify and partner with organizations who share our passion to assist those in need. There’s a lot to share in this letter, so I hope you’ll continue to read.
Fund Updates and Initiatives
In April, we were proud to launch our COVID-19 Insurance Premium Payment Assistance Fund. Through this fund, we are able to provide $6,000 in financial assistance for a three month grant to assist individuals who have been laid off or furloughed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. It’s an honor to let you know that we have been able to assist more than 450 households with individuals living with a chronic illness who would have faced serious, potentially life-threatening, consequences as a result of a disruption in treatment.
Recently, we have had to make the difficult decision to close our COVID-19 Ancillary Costs Fund to new applicants. When we opened our COVID-19 Ancillary Costs Fund on March 17, we did so in an effort to do our part to help Americans during the largest public health crisis in a generation. It very quickly became one of our two busiest funds as measured by the number of new grant applicants approved each day. The Foundation ultimately contributed $2 million of its own financial resources to the fund, in addition to donations received from third parties. While we were saddened to have to make this decision, we were honored to have been able to assist more than 8,300 patients and their families during the pandemic.
As the pandemic continued to plague our nation, we continued to identify and launch new funds to assist those in need of critical medical treatments and were proud to open funds in the following disease areas: Sickle Cell Disease; B-Cell Lymphoma; Prostate Cancer; and Adrenal Insufficiency.
To learn more about these funds, visit our Disease Funds page and, remember to check this list regularly for real-time information for all of our funds.
As I mentioned in my last letter, please know that while the team continues to work remotely, there is no change in operations and all active grants will remain active. In order to maximize our agents’ ability to answer calls, we respectfully ask that providers and pharmacies continue to use the dedicated portals through our website: Pharmacy Portal, Provider Portal. This will allow patients the opportunity to speak directly with a HealthWell representative with as little wait time as possible.
As the COVID-19 public health crisis continued to alter the way we were able to communicate and network with our communities, we accelerated our efforts to reach the patients who need us the most. Partnering with national patient support and advocacy organizations to help us spread the word about our work and to share valuable resources available to those we serve has always been a priority for the Foundation. During these difficult times, expanding our partnerships with organizations that support our mission is more important than ever. We recognize that, oftentimes, patients need more than just financial support. Since my last letter, I’m delighted to say that we’ve added multiple organizations to our growing list of alliance partners. I’d like to share a special thank you to these organizations for their amazing work and for helping us in our efforts to focus on total patient care, not just the cost of medical treatments. I hope you’ll take a moment to meet our new alliance partners and to learn more about their programs and resources.
The Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation is an independent, non-profit patient advocacy organization with a vision for life free of cutaneous lymphoma. Founded in 1998 by three visionary leaders, a patient, an expert clinician, and a caregiver, each bringing a unique perspective, created an organization benefiting patients, families, and clinicians.The Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation offers a wide variety of programs and services to this rare disease community providing relevant, timely information and resources that deliver life-changing support. Its mission is to eliminate the burden of this group of diseases by promoting awareness, providing education, advancing patient care, facilitating significant progress in cutaneous lymphoma research, and, most importantly, providing much-needed support to patients and their families. Visit https://www.clfoundation.org/ to learn more.
The Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) offers a variety of support services to lymphoma patients, survivors, and caregivers. These free services include the LRF Helpline, which provides information about lymphoma, treatment options, and financial assistance resources, as well the Lymphoma Support Network for peer support and encouragement.
Individuals touched by lymphoma can also learn about novel and emerging therapies through LRF’s Clinical Trials Information Service. As part of this clinical trials service, LRF staff can conduct individualized lymphoma trial searches for patients to assist them in making important decisions about their care. For more information about LRF’s free support services, please contact the LRF Helpline at 1-800-500-9976 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit https://www.lymphoma.org/learn/supportservices.
The National Adrenal Diseases Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the adrenal disease community. Their mission is to inform, educate, and support those with adrenal disease and their families to improve their quality of life. NADF’s goals are to stop death from undiagnosed adrenal insufficiency; improve life quality of those who suffer from adrenal disease, and to promote the study of adrenal disease to improve treatment and find cures. For more information on NADF, visit: www.nadf.us.
NeedyMeds is a national nonprofit that connects people to programs that will help them afford their health care expenses. These services are free and anonymous through their website (NeedyMeds.org) and helpline (1-800-503-6897).
Triage Cancer is a national, nonprofit organization that provides education on the practical and legal issues that may impact individuals diagnosed with cancer and their caregivers, through free events, materials, and resources. Triage Cancer also offers an educational blog (https://TriageCancer.org/blog) and hosts CancerFinances.org, a toolkit to help people effectively navigate finances after a cancer diagnosis. Triage Cancer educates and empowers those diagnosed with cancer and their caregivers as they focus on living their best lives beyond diagnosis.
ZERO — The End of Prostate Cancer is the leading national nonprofit with the mission to end prostate cancer. ZERO advances research, improves the lives of men and families, and inspires action. ZERO is building Generation ZERO, the first generation of men free from prostate cancer, through their national run/walk series, education and patient support programs, and grassroots advocacy. ZERO is a 501(c)(3) philanthropic organization recognized with four out of four stars by Charity Navigator, accredited by the Better Business Bureau, with regional chapters across the country. Visit https://zerocancer.org/ to learn more.
Providing stellar customer response and state-of-the-art services for our stakeholders is a top priority at HealthWell. This quarter, we were excited to roll out our enhanced Patient Portal to make working with the Foundation even more convenient for our grant recipients. Through the updated and improved portal, patients can review current grant status, sign up for and receive fund alerts, upload documents, and check the status of payments from their phones, tablets, laptops, or PCs with ease. If you have an active grant with us, we encourage you to begin using our upgraded portal to take advantage of these features.
Earlier this summer, we were honored to participate in the CBI-PAP virtual conference. During the week-long event, which was held in August, we moderated two panel sessions contributing to timely discussions about copayment assistance programs and hosted our first virtual exhibit.
Meet the Team
In July, we were excited to announce the appointment of our new board member, Cathleen D. Bennett, Esq. Bringing over 24 years of experience in health and human services to the Foundation, Ms. Bennett currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Hospital Association, and its affiliates, the Health Research and Education Trust of New Jersey and Healthcare Business Solutions, organizations primarily known for their thought leadership, policy development, and advocacy in Washington, DC and Trenton, NJ. We are honored to welcome her to our esteemed board of directors.
Ms. Bennett commented, “It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that I accept the appointment of Director on HealthWell Foundation’s Board. I applaud HealthWell’s critical mission to reduce financial barriers to care and look forward to helping to continue to support that mission through collaborative and strategic initiatives that bolster access to essential, often lifesaving, medical care.”
In addition, we continued to grow our corporate team and recently welcomed Jeremy Abbundi, MHA, as our new Manager, Provider and Pharmacy Relations. In this newly created role, Jeremy will serve as liaison to physician offices and pharmacies to ensure familiarity with HealthWell’s programs and processes. We also strengthened our Operations team with the addition of Rita Coleman, Special Initiatives Manager. In this role, Rita serves as subject matter expert for special initiative funds, such as our Pediatric Assistance Fund and our Cancer-Related Behavioral Health Fund. Rita had previously served as Associate Director of Operations for the Foundation and we were honored to have her rejoin HealthWell in this new role. I’m thrilled we continue to expand our team and hope that you will take a few moments to learn more about Ms. Bennett, Jeremy, and Rita by visiting: https://www.healthwellfoundation.org/about/who-we-are/
Our contact center team has worked tirelessly to ensure that all callers who reach out to us for assistance receive the quality care they deserve. As they continue to work remotely, the team’s enthusiasm and professionalism have been recognized by hundreds of grant applicants, pharmacies, and providers. I’m excited to share that we recently welcomed 14 new team members to the contact center family. It’s truly heartwarming to see our team grow and to have the ability to expand our bandwidth to ensure that our stakeholders have the best experience possible when speaking with a HealthWell representative. I’d like to share a special Thank You to the team for their hard work and dedication in helping us carry out our mission.
Making a Difference
I find it hard to put into words the immense gratitude I feel for our corporate and individual donors. I’m sure every charity believes their donors are special, but I can’t imagine any of them see as many examples of pure selflessness as we do at the HealthWell Foundation.
A recent gift we received from the daughters of James M. of Irwin, Pennsylvania, is yet another example of the HealthWell community’s extraordinary compassion for others. One of his daughters, Nicole, explained that their father had just passed away and that their gift was made with a heartbreaking wish. Click here to hear Nicole’s story in her own words.
It is incredibly inspiring that, in their time of grief, Nicole and her sister chose to honor their father in this beautiful way. I’m also grateful that Nicole allowed me to share the attached video about her father. During these difficult times, her words are a much-needed reminder of how much a HealthWell grant can mean to people facing a health crisis.
The past five months have been difficult for everyone as COVID-19 has upended our lives. Yet people are still struggling with the same serious medical challenges that they were before the public health crisis hit—and the need for our assistance is as great as it ever was.
With your help, we will continue to be there for people when they need us most.
Help Us Earn Our Badge
Can’t make a financial contribution? If you love our work, then tell the world! Stories about us from people like you will help us make an even bigger impact in our community. GreatNonprofits – the #1 source of nonprofit stories and feedback – is honoring highly regarded nonprofits with their 2020 Top-Rated List. We are currently on their top-rated list and only need a few more posts to help us maintain our rating. Won’t you help us raise visibility for our work by posting a brief story of your experience with us? All content will be visible to potential donors and volunteers. It’s easy and only takes 3 minutes! To write a review, visit: https://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/write/healthwell-foundation.
You can also help spread the word about our life-changing work through our social communities! Please take a moment to join our social channels to help us reach even more patients in need.
Helping us spread the word is a critical and valued contribution to the HealthWell Foundation. Thank you for helping us help others in any way you can!