Over 1 Million Grants Strong and Forging Ahead!
A Message from HealthWell Foundation President, Krista Zodet
As we slowly return to our pre-pandemic routines while keeping an eye on new variants, we are excited to be able to join family, friends and co-workers with less trepidation about becoming infected or infecting those around us with the virus. While we embrace the leniency that vaccines and boosters have provided, the team and I encourage everyone to remain vigilant by continuing to follow best health care practices and science. Hopefully, by this time next year – COVID will truly be a distant memory or in the least, a manageable endemic. Until then, we wish all of you continued safety and good health.
Since my last letter, a multitude of amazing things have happened at HealthWell. We continue to enhance our programs, bring on new team members to help us carry out our mission, and receive external recognition for our transparency and efficiency. We’ve been busy to say the least, but we are honored that even through the pandemic, we were able to maintain our focus and serve as a financial lifeline to America’s underinsured. While we are humbled by our achievements, we could not do this alone. Thanks to the continued trust and support of our individual and corporate donors, we were able to serve more patients in 2021 than ever before! Their generosity allowed us to provide life-changing medications to over 175,000 patients who would have otherwise forgone treatment due to cost. Thank you to everyone who continued to support our mission to reduce financial barriers to care for underinsured Americans with chronic or life-altering diseases.
Not only did we set new records in both patients assisted and grants made in 2021, but we also reached a milestone of awarding more than 1 million grants to nearly 728,000 patients since awarding our first grant in 2004. It is truly heartwarming to know that we have provided a life-changing service and further demonstrates the critical need for underinsured Americans. We are committed to being here for the next million grants, and the million after that, and so on and so on!
While 2021 definitely came with its share of challenges, the team never missed a beat! A few weeks ago, we were proud to publish our 2021 Year in Review. It’s amazing to see the accomplishments of the team and to realize just how much of an impact our work has on those in need of life-changing, more often lifesaving, medical treatments. I’ll go into more detail about our 2021 accomplishments later in this letter, so I hope you’ll continue to read.
Year-over-year, we continue to be humbled by the outpouring of support we receive. That support allows us to expand our programs and resources, implement new initiatives to broaden our reach across patient communities, and, most importantly, to assist more patients who have nowhere else to turn. In 2021, we experienced an unprecedented year on many levels.
A few highlights of our 2021 accomplishments include:
- Reaching the milestone of awarding over 1 million grants.
- Launching or reopening 18 funds, including new funds to assist Medicare patients living with Myelodysplastic Syndromes, Neurocognitive Disease with Psychosis, Pancreatic Cancer and Pulmonary Hypertension.
- Launching a HealthWell-sponsored COVID-19 Frontline Health Care Workers Behavioral Health Fund to provide grants to assist frontline health care workers in covering their out-of-pocket treatment-related copayments for prescription drugs, counseling services, psychotherapy, and transportation needed to manage COVID-19 related behavioral health issues.
- Continuing to operate more than 60 funds in a variety of disease areas, including multiple funds in oncology, and our special initiative funds in behavioral health and pediatrics.
- Enhancing our website with the launch of our compliance page, which features best practices and videos from our Board members and senior management team, explaining our process and demonstrating our unwavering commitment to full transparency and the highest ethical standards.
- Maintaining operational efficiency by programming our grants with an overhead rate of less than 2.61% foundation-wide, while never using any donor dollars to pay administrative fees.
In addition, our dedicated contact center, HWF Direct, LLC, continued to set new records for performance and efficiency, making the HealthWell experience seamless for those who reached out to us for assistance. As many of our contact center team continued to work remotely in 2021, these impressive statistics illustrate their level of compassion and commitment to be a friendly voice to the tens of thousands of callers who contact us every month. In fact, here are a few highlights of our dedicated team’s achievements:
- Received: 491,911 calls through our hotline while maintaining a call capture rate of 93.5% for the callers who opted to speak with a specialist.
- Assisted more than 37,000 callers on average each month.
- Actively managed over 185,400 grants.
- Created 186,438 grants (including withdrawn and cancelled grants) via the hotline, online applications, and portal.
- Responded to:
- 134,264 copay reimbursement/payment requests with an average processing time of less than seven business days.
- 15,850 premium reimbursement/payment requests with an average processing time of less than three business days.
- 39,357 email questions/requests with same day response time.
I invite you to read our 2021 Year in Review to learn more about these and the multitude of other successes throughout the year.
Meet the Team
At HealthWell, we are always enhancing our team with talented people who support our mission. We were excited to bring on two new members to our corporate team and more than 70 members to our contact center team in 2021. This year, we are fortunate to enhance our corporate team with the addition of Pamely Flores Vasco, our new Staff Accountant. To learn more about Pamely and our team, visit the “Who We Are” page on our website.
Fund and Service Updates
At HealthWell, our focus is, and has always been, total patient care. For many of the patients who reach out to us for assistance, copayment or insurance premium costs represent only a portion of their burden. Consider having access to treatment but no way to get there. Consider contacting a foundation for help only to realize that no one on the other end of the phone speaks your language.
We are excited to share that we recently added a new resource to our program and have partnered with Ride Health to provide transportation services for eligible HealthWell grant recipients. Through the service, patients will be able to request transportation to and from medical appointments as related to their travel assistance grant in advance – with the transportation cost being paid directly from their grant. If you currently have a grant through one of our travel assistance funds, please review the disease fund page to learn more and to book a ride!
In addition, we proudly launched our Spanish language pages on our website last year in an effort to better serve the Spanish speaking community. I’m thrilled to share that we have further enhanced our program to provide language translation services to callers where English is not their first language. We have partnered with In-House Interpreting to ensure that those who reach out to us for help have access to a trained professional who can translate information about grants and funds and address their questions during the first call!
Earlier this month, we were honored to announce the launch of our Cardiomyopathy – Medicare Access Fund. Through the fund, we will provide up to $10,000 in medication copayment or insurance premium assistance to eligible Medicare patients living with the condition. To learn more about the Cardiomyopathy Fund and the disease areas we cover, visit our Disease Funds page.
Conferences and Presentations
When it rains, it pours! Since the onset of the pandemic, we were all forced to adjust the way we do business and connect with relevant communities. As we begin to resume pre-pandemic activities, returning to in-person conferences and meetings is on the top of our priority list. In fact, the teams are preparing for a full Spring line up of industry, disease, and advocacy conferences. If you’re resuming your in-person conference participation this Spring, we hope to see you onsite. Here’s where you can find us:
- Rare Disease Innovation and Partnering, Boston, MA – May 17-19, 2022
- Digestive Disease Week, San Diego, CA – May 21 – 24, 2022: Booth #2217
- Case Management Society of America, Kissimmee, FL – June 1-4, 2022
- American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Chicago, IL – June 3-7, 2022: Booth #3032
- Patient Assistance and Access Programs (PAP), Parsippany, NJ – June 28-30, 2022: Exhibiting. Alan Klein, our Chief Development Officer, will also moderate the panel: Navigate the Legal Underpinnings of Patient Assistance and Gain Insight on OIG Oversight on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, from 10:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m
I look forward to sharing more exciting news about our conference participation in future issues.
Planning for the Future
In 2021, we implemented a program to provide those we serve, and others, with the resources necessary to prepare their will.
This Spring, it’s easier than ever to make a transformative impact that will help you, your loved ones, and the causes you care about. Through our friends at FreeWill, HealthWell supporters can now create their estate plan free of charge and securely in under 20 minutes. It’s an easy way to protect what’s most important—and create a legacy that reduces the financial barriers of our patients, today, tomorrow, and in the future. Make your mark today.
Our Blog: RealWorldHealthCare
HealthWell’s blog, Real World Health Care, features compelling content on health care issues affecting Americans through profiles of patient advocacy organizations and the people and programs changing the way health care is delivered. In 2021, we were proud to have increased our Real World Health Care blog following to 18,879 users! This year, we’re excited to bring you timely posts on Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Health Disparities, and Parkinson’s Disease. We’d like to share a special thanks to the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, LUNGevity Foundation, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), and the other amazing organizations that have contributed to the blog. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to subscribe to our blog, so you won’t miss a single post. It’s easy to do, just follow this link and sign-up.
Testimonials and Tutorials
There’s no better way to spread the word about our programs and services than through the words of a patient, friend or family member who has been touched by a HealthWell grant. I’m excited to share that we have enhanced our website to include videos of the heartfelt stories from those we have been honored to serve. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to view the videos and if you have a HealthWell story to share – reach out to us. We’d love to share your video, too!
While patient testimonials are a vital component for us to reach patient communities, we also believe that learning how to navigate our user-friendly tools is the key to enhancing your HealthWell experience. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to review our Videos and Media page to see how a HealthWell grant changes lives and how easy it is to use our online tools!
Growing Our Social Communities – Helping Us Reach More Patients in Need
You can help by spreading the word about the life-changing work we do. Connect with us through our social communities! Not able to make a financial contribution? Helping us spread the word is also a critical, and highly valued, contribution to the HealthWell Foundation. Here’s how you can help us make a difference in the life of a patient in need today!
- Create a Facebook fundraiser to commemorate a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion.
- Make a tax-deductible contribution.
- Donate in the name of a friend or loved one.
- Include the HealthWell Foundation in your estate plans.
- Spread the word about the important work we do by sharing your HealthWell story.
Thank you for helping us help others in any way you can!