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HealthWell Foundation Launches Behavioral Health Fund to Assist COVID-19 Frontline Health Care Workers


HealthWell-Sponsored Fund Provides Financial Assistance to Cover Services Prescribed by Behavioral Health Providers    

GERMANTOWN, Md. — February 10, 2021 — The HealthWell Foundation®, an independent non-profit that provides a financial lifeline for inadequately insured Americans, has launched a new fund to provide copayment assistance for behavioral health treatments for frontline health care workers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis. Through the COVID-19 Frontline Health Care Workers Behavioral Health Fund, HealthWell will provide up to $2,000 in financial assistance for a 12-month grant period to eligible health care workers who have annual household incomes up to 500 percent of the federal poverty level.

The HealthWell Foundation recognizes the unmet needs of frontline health care workers during the public health crisis and the importance mental health has on their ability to cope with the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has imparted on the patients they serve.

Through this unique, HealthWell-sponsored fund, HealthWell will 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.

“History has taught us that the psychological impact of traumatic events doesn’t always reveal itself immediately. For health care workers dealing with the often tragic outcomes of COVID-19 cases, stress and anxiety can have serious, long-term effects on their mental wellbeing,” said Suzanne M. Miller, Ph.D., Professor of Cancer Prevention and Control and Director of Patient Empowerment and Health Decision Making at Fox Chase Cancer Center/Temple University Hospital Outpatient Services. “HealthWell’s new fund will provide these workers with the financial assistance they need to seek and adhere to behavioral health treatments to address the effects of stress and burnout.” Dr. Miller is Chairman of the Board for the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute and also serves on the boards of the Society of Behavioral Medicine and the HealthWell Foundation.

An editorial in the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s journal, Translational Behavioral Medicine: Practice, Policy, Research (Dr. Miller, Editor-in-Chief), demonstrated that emotional distress for first responders in 9/11 was at a peak 6 months after the event. Therefore, the greatest need among COVID-19 frontline health care workers might not appear until several months post-vaccine or mitigation of positive cases. There is also anecdotal evidence that 1 in 3 of these workers may eventually suffer from diagnosed or undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“I know first-hand that treating patients who have become infected with COVID-19 can be very challenging. Many nurses, physicians and other health care workers have been called to play roles outside of their normal practice. At many sites, clinicians have had to work with limited resources and inadequate protective gear. It can be devastating to see patients suffer from COVID without their family and friends able to visit and support them during their illness. Despite the challenges, health care workers strive to provide the best possible care while dealing with their own fatigue, anxiety, and exhaustion,” said Jeffrey Peppercorn, MD, MPH, Director, Massachusetts General Hospital Supportive Care and Survivorship Program, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Scientific and Ethics Advisor for the HealthWell Foundation. “Under these difficult conditions, many health care workers feel helpless even as they persist in their efforts to save the lives of those infected with the virus. HealthWell’s new fund to assist frontline health care workers so they can access and afford behavioral health services to manage anxiety and depression resulting from their roles addresses a critical need during the pandemic and well beyond.”

Susan Gurley, Executive Director, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, added, “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an unshakeable impact on our lives. For those who are treating patients infected with the virus, the impact is exacerbated by reoccurring traumatic events and uncontrollable outcomes. During these unprecedented times, many are dealing with added anxiety, thoughts of helplessness, failure, and fear. Oftentimes, people suffering from these feelings do not seek necessary treatment and counseling, which can lead to more serious situations, including PTSD, and even thoughts of suicide. We applaud the HealthWell Foundation for recognizing the paramount need for frontline health care workers who are going to heroic measures to save the lives of those impacted by COVID-19 by providing a vital financial resource that will enable them to obtain critical behavioral health services.”

To determine eligibility and apply for financial assistance, visit HealthWell’s COVID-19 Frontline Health Care 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 80 disease areas for more than 615,000 underinsured patients. Since its inception, HealthWell has provided over $2.1 billion in grant support 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 29th on the 2020 Forbes list of The 100 Largest U.S. Charities and was recognized for its 100 percent fundraising efficiency. For more information, visit www.HealthWellFoundation.org.

About Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)
ADAA’s mission focuses on improving quality of life for those with anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, and co-occurring disorders through education, practice, and research. ADAA helps people find treatment, resources, and support. ADAA strives to improve patient care by promoting implementation of evidence-based treatments and best practices across disciplines through continuing education and trainings and accelerating dissemination of research into practice. ADAA promotes scientific innovation and engages a diverse network of basic and clinical anxiety and depression researchers and providers encouraging the implementation of new treatments to clinicians. These commitments drive ADAA’s promise to find new treatments and one day prevent and cure these disorders. To learn more, visit: ADAA.org.

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