HealthWell Foundation Broadens Behavioral Health Fund to Include Emergency Workers and First Responders
HealthWell-Sponsored Fund Now Provides Financial Assistance to Emergency and Medical Workers for Behavioral Health Services
GERMANTOWN, Md. — February 21, 2023 — The HealthWell Foundation®, an independent non-profit that provides a financial lifeline for inadequately insured Americans, is pleased to announce that it has broadened the parameters of its flagship COVID-19 Frontline Health Care Workers Behavioral Health Fund to include emergency workers and first responders. In addition, guidelines for fund eligibility no longer include a COVID-19 provision. Through the newly restructured Emergency/Medical Workers Behavioral Health Fund, HealthWell will 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.
In February of 2021, the HealthWell Foundation launched the COVID-19 Frontline Health Care Workers Behavioral Health Fund to assist frontline health care workers who were coping with their own behavioral health issues that treating pandemic numbers of COVID-19 patients had on them. Through the fund, HealthWell has provided financial assistance to over 150 frontline health care workers through more than 175 grants. As the COVID-19 health care crisis will have its status changed from a national health care emergency on May 11, 2023, we recognize that emergency workers (police officers, firefighters, and first responders) also suffer immense trauma and anxiety while carrying out their respective roles. To address the unmet needs of the dedicated men and women who place the safety of those they serve above all else, we have broadened the fund to ensure they have access to the critical behavioral health services they need without worrying about how to afford them.
Through the fund, HealthWell will assist emergency and medical workers in covering their out-of-pocket treatment-related copayments for prescription drugs, counseling services, psychotherapy, and transportation needed to manage behavioral health issues.
“Traumatic events can leave a lasting impact on our mental well-being and each individual processes their experiences in different ways. For emergency and medical personnel, witnessing uncontrollable and often devastating events can be a daily occurrence associated with their professions. These events can have long-term effects including depression, anxiety, and sometimes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” said Suzanne M. Miller, PhD, Director, Patient Empowerment and Health Decision Making Department, Fox Chase Cancer Center/Temple Health, and HealthWell Foundation Vice Chair & Secretary. “If left undiagnosed and untreated, those living with these conditions may resort to drastic, potentially irreversible measures. Recognizing the daily trauma our emergency and medical personnel endure and the unmet need to provide access to mental health services is a tremendous step forward in securing their well-being.”
HealthWell Foundation President & Chief Executive Officer, Krista Zodet, commented on the fund, “When we originally opened this behavioral health fund in 2021, we were in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic and wanted to assist those who were serving infected patients with their mental health needs. While we were honored to have been able to provide assistance to more than 150 health care workers through the original fund, we needed to do more. Following the United States government’s determination that we are now in a post-pandemic phase of COVID-19, broadening the fund to omit COVID-19 from the equation and including emergency personnel was the logical next step.” Ms. Zodet continued, “Through the expanded fund, we are excited to be able to assist a greater portion of the men and women who go to heroic measures every day to keep us safe. We are proud to be able to provide the financial resources these individuals need to enable them to access and adhere to behavioral health treatments they otherwise would not be able to afford.”
To determine eligibility and apply for financial assistance, visit HealthWell’s Emergency/Medical Workers Behavioral Health Fund page. To learn how you can support this or other HealthWell programs, visit HealthWellFoundation.org.
About the HealthWell Foundation
A nationally recognized, independent non-profit organization founded in 2003, the HealthWell Foundation has served as a safety net across over 85 disease areas for more than 822,000 underinsured patients. Since its inception, HealthWell has provided over $3.3 billion in financial support through more than 1.3 million grants to access life-changing medical treatments patients otherwise would not be able to afford. HealthWell provides financial assistance to adults and children facing medical hardship resulting from gaps in their insurance that cause out-of-pocket medical expenses to escalate rapidly; HealthWell assists with the treatment-related cost-sharing obligations of these patients. HealthWell ranked 34th on the 2022 Forbes list of The 100 Largest U.S. Charities and was recognized for its 100 percent fundraising efficiency. For more information, visit HealthWellFoundation.org.
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