Integrity, Innovation, Impact – Putting Patients First in All We Do
Greetings and Happy Warm Weather Days! It’s hard to believe that half of 2023 is already in the rear-view mirror. I hope this letter finds you enjoying the warmer weather and catching up with friends and family now that life is somewhat back to “normal.” I’m sure you are all thrilled, as am I, that the public pandemic has “officially” been declared over. While it may be over, there are still pop-up COVID infections, so the teams and I urge you to remain vigilant for your own safety and the safety of those around you.
It’s been a while since the last issue and we have a lot to catch up on, so let’s get started!
Since my last letter, we were honored to publish our 2022 Year In Review, which highlights our many accomplishments throughout the year. While we are humbled by our achievements, they would not have been possible without the trust and support of our individual and corporate donors, whose generosity enabled us to provide life-changing medications to over 169,000 patients who would have otherwise forgone treatment due to cost. Thank you for your continued support which allows us to say, “Yes, we can help you,” to the tens of thousands of underinsured Americans who reached out to us in 2022 for assistance. I look forward to sharing more details about last year’s accomplishments later in this issue.
We’ve been busy expanding our programs and services and further enhancing our online tools to provide the best HealthWell experience for those we serve. In addition, we recently announced changes to our Board of Directors and senior staff. We continued to strengthen our corporate and contact center teams with new members who share our mission to assist those in need to help us keep up with the growing demand for our services.
I’m excited to share more details about these and other activities later in this issue, so I hope you’ll continue to read.
Foundation and Service Updates — Integrity, Innovation, Impact – Putting Patients First in All We Do
Year-over-year, we continue to be humbled by the generosity of our individual and corporate donors. Their 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 2022, we experienced an unprecedented year on many levels.
In 2022, we were proud to have:
- Launched or re-opened 16 funds, including new funds to assist patients living with Alagille Syndrome to cover the cost of vitamins and supplements, and to provide copayment and insurance premium assistance to individuals with B-Cell Lymphoma, Cardiomyopathy, and Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia.
- Enhanced our patient, provider, and pharmacy portals to further simplify the user experience. New features include a message center to help users stay current on process and portal enhancements, document upload from any device, and more!
- Enhanced our travel assistance funds with the addition of transportation services through our partnership with Ride Health. Grant recipients can request transportation to and from medical appointments as related to their travel grant – with the transportation cost being paid directly from their grant.
- Provided financial assistance to the families of over 1,800 children living with chronic or life-altering conditions through our HealthWell Pediatric Assistance Fund®.
- Assisted more than 150 oncology patients seeking behavioral health services through our Cancer-Related Behavioral Health Fund.
- Continued to operate close to 60 funds in a variety of disease areas, including multiple funds in oncology, and our special initiative funds in behavioral health and pediatrics.
- Diversified and grew our individual donor base to almost 72,000 donors with more than 17,300 giving in 2022, resulting in a record high year-end public charity percentage.
In 2022, we were honored to welcome 17 new members to our dedicated contact center, HWF Direct, LLC, team which now consists of close to 150 professionals ready to assist the more than 37,000 patients, caregivers, providers, and pharmacies who reach out to us each month for assistance.
Our key performance metrics focus on providing compassionate, responsive, and quality care to each and every caller and our high performance standards continue to be recognized by those we serve. Last year, the team was proud to have:
- Maintained a 99% staff retention rate.
- Implemented an awards and recognition program for the staff and enhanced our performance management system for all employees.
- Created: 184,708 grants via hotline, online applications, and portal.
- 466,010 calls through our hotline while maintaining a call capture rate of 99%.
- 121,012 documents submitted through our portals — 67% of our total volume.
- 43,749 documents faxed to us — 24% of our total volume.
- 15,218 documents received through mail — 9% of our total volume.
- Responded to:
- 112,983 copay reimbursement/payment requests with an average processing time of six business days.
- 18,010 premium reimbursement/payment requests with an average processing time of three business days.
- 34,677 email questions/requests with a same day average response time.
To view our 2022 Year In Review in its entirety, click here! We are preparing our 2022 Annual Report and look forward to sharing that with you early in the third quarter of 2023.
We continued to gain momentum as we headed into 2023 and, so far this year, we have opened two new funds which provide up to $9,000 in medication copayment or insurance premium assistance to eligible patients living with systemic sclerosis with interstitial lung disease and patients living with IgA nephropathy. We were excited to welcome our newest alliance partners, National Scleroderma Foundation and IgA Nephropathy (IGAN) Foundation, to help us spread the word about our new funds to their respective communities. To learn more about these and the other amazing organizations who share our mission to assist patients in need, visit Our Alliance Partners page.
In February, we were proud to announce that we broadened the parameters of our flagship COVID-19 Frontline Health Care Workers Behavioral Health Fund to include emergency workers and first responders. Guidelines for fund eligibility no longer include a COVID-19 provision. Through the newly restructured Emergency/Medical Workers Behavioral Health Fund, we provide up to $2,000 in financial assistance for a 12-month grant period to eligible emergency and medical workers who have annual household incomes up to 500 percent of the federal poverty level.
We also announced that we revised the timing for new fund launches and fund re-openings to provide equal access to patients across the United States. All new funds and re-opening funds now open at 11:00 a.m. Eastern (8:00 a.m. Pacific) to provide patients, providers and pharmacies across multiple time zones the ability to apply for grants during normal business hours.
To learn more about our funds and our robust portfolio of diseases covered, visit our Disease Funds page.
Portals and Real-Time Fund Alerts
At HealthWell, it is, and always has been, our primary goal to make working with us as easy as possible. From navigating our application process, to accessing and utilizing online tools, we pride ourselves in providing state-of-the-art innovation and technology. We were excited to recently announce enhancements to our pharmacy and provider portals as well as a new text message feature for our Real-Time Fund Alerts.
Now, when signing up to receive our Real-Time Fund Alerts, you have the option of receiving real-time information about our funds via email or text message. Simply select your preference from the login page to receive instant notifications of HealthWell’s diverse portfolio of disease funds in real-time.
Our latest portal enhancements include:
- Arranging the landing page to make it more user-friendly and intuitive to match how you use our portals. For example, when you log into the portal to enroll a patient, you add the new patient, then enroll them into a disease fund. The new layout of our landing page follows the same process flow.
- Ability to request creating a unified view so each portal user will be able to see any patient added or enrolled by other users with the same HealthWell account number upon request without having to add patients individually.
- Adding reminders and instant access to grants requiring special attention. Using the Manage Grants button, you can access all grants that need special attention which are marked by a red dot. The red dot indicates that an action is required, i.e., re-enrollment, Medicare, income, or diagnosis verification. These presorted grants allow easy access and a reminder to re-enroll or upload a document to complete enrollment.
- Updating the Message Center icon to a message bubble for better visibility and recognition. The Message Center offers portal users the ability to send personalized email messages to the HealthWell Foundation through the Contact Us section as well as the ability to view all portal and program updates.
We hope these enhancements save you time. If you are new to our portals, visit the login page on our website to sign up for an account today!!
Meet the Team
Earlier this year, we were excited to honor Stephen (Steve) M. Weiner, HealthWell Foundation’s founding Board Chair, for almost two decades of service. Steve’s vision to help patients afford life-changing and lifesaving medical treatments was the driving force in establishing the Foundation. He stepped down as our Board Chair and transitioned into his new role as Chief Compliance Officer for the Foundation.
In April, we hosted a celebration to honor Steve, where we were joined by HealthWell Board members, senior staff, his family, friends of the Foundation, and esteemed government officials. During the celebration, representatives from the Maryland House of Delegates, the Honorable Lily Qi, District 15, and the Honorable Kenneth P. Kerr, District 3B, recognized and, on behalf of the Maryland General Assembly, thanked Steve for nearly two decades of service to the patient community.
David (Dave) L. Knowlton, who previously served as HealthWell’s Chief Compliance Officer, accepted the appointment as HealthWell’s new Board Chair.
“Under Steve’s leadership, the Foundation worked rigorously to become the highly rated, trustworthy, efficient, and transparent charitable patient assistance program that it is today,” said Dave Knowlton, “Steve’s tireless efforts to ensure that the Foundation operates in full compliance, transparency and with the highest ethical standards have positioned the HealthWell Foundation as an industry leader.” He also thanked Steve for agreeing to remain on the Board as Chief Compliance Officer.
Dave commented on his new role, “HealthWell has always strived to meet, and exceed, the requirements of all applicable laws and regulatory requirements in everything we do; it is the guiding principle under which we operate as an organization and under which our Board and staff operate as individuals. As the charitable patient assistance program industry continues to face increased scrutiny, we have and will remain steadfast in our commitment to compliance and transparency. I’m honored to work with the Foundation and senior staff to ensure that we continue to carry out our mission with the utmost integrity.”
In addition, we enhanced our corporate and contact center teams with the addition of new staff and the promotion of multiple team members to better reflect their valuable contributions to the Foundation. To learn more about the team, visit the Who We Are section of our website.
Conferences and Presentations
2023 is shaping up to be one of our biggest conference years ever. We kicked off the conference line up in March and haven’t slowed down since. This year, we were excited to enhance our presence at multiple venues including, Informa Connect Patient Assistance & Access Programs (PAP), AXS23 (Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit), 2023 ASCO® (American Society of Clinical Oncology) and were proud to recently announce our presenting sponsorship for the Healthcare Advocate Summit to be held in New Orleans, LA, September 6-8, 2023. Learn more about our conference schedule by visiting our new conference webpage.
In May, I had the pleasure of moderating the panel: The Inflation Reduction Act Impact on Patient Financial Assistance: A Multi-Stakeholder Perspective at the Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit. Joining me for the discussion was Charles E. Collins, Jr., President, Healthcare Stakeholder Solutions; Alan Klein, Chief Development Officer, HealthWell Foundation; Melissa Paige, Vice President, National Association of Medication Access & Patient Advocacy; and James E. Smith, Jr., Pharmacy Manager, Amber Specialty Pharmacy. The panelists and I were thrilled to see a packed room and were excited to present this timely discussion and address questions from such an engaged audience.
Earlier this month, the team exhibited at the 2023 ASCO® Annual Meeting in Chicago. During the meeting, HealthWell representatives highlighted our robust portfolio of oncology funds and educated stakeholders about our programs and services to assist cancer patients in need.
We recently announced our presenting sponsorship for the 2023 Healthcare Advocate Summit, the premier event for stakeholders in the patient access, navigation, and reimbursement arena. During this three-day, must-attend summit, HealthWell and other similarly mission-focused organizations, will host a full-day seminar devoted specifically to interested and existing corporate manufacturer donors in the charitable patient assistance program (CPAP) space. The seminar will provide a complete overview as well as in-depth detail toward assisting patients with their medication copays, insurance premiums, and other ancillary costs through independent foundational support. All sessions will be both in-person and live-streamed, with the ability to submit questions anonymously prior to the seminar and ask questions in person and via the live-stream throughout the day. To learn more and register today, visit: https://www.healthcareadvocatesummit.com. We look forward to seeing you in New Orleans!
Have You Made a Plan for the Future?
Creating a will is a great way to plan for the future. In the spirit of providing accessible health and safety resources to our community, HealthWell partnered with FreeWill to provide an online will-writing tool! It’s safe, secure, and takes 20 minutes or less to complete — and it’s 100% free to use! You can also make an extraordinary difference in the lives of others by making a planned gift to the HealthWell Foundation. Remembering the HealthWell Foundation in your will or trust is one of the most meaningful gifts you can offer to those who struggle with a chronic illness and need the financial support for their life-changing, sometimes lifesaving, medications when their insurance simply isn’t enough. Claim your free will today!
Your Support Changes Lives
Did you know that 100 percent of your tax-deductible donation is put to work immediately to assist patients who would otherwise forgo critical, potentially lifesaving, medical treatments simply because they can’t afford them? Did you know that because of your generosity, since awarding our first grant in 2004, we have been able to assist more than 822,000 patients with chronic or life-altering conditions who would have otherwise forgone critical, potentially lifesaving medical treatments simply because their insurance wasn’t enough? Thank you for helping us help so many in need.
Here are a few ways you can support our mission:
- Make a tax-deductible contribution.
- Donate in the name of a friend or loved one.
- Include the HealthWell Foundation in your estate plans.
Help Us Help Those Who Have Nowhere Else to Turn
Helping us spread the word is also a critical, and highly valued, contribution to the HealthWell Foundation. You can help by spreading the word about the life-changing work we do. Connect with us through our social communities! 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.
- 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.