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DEAt 80 years old, Fort Worth resident Everett Winters still leads an active lifestyle of playing golf, enjoying tennis and spending time with his wife, Norma.

Family and friends say it is hard to look at Winters today and recognize that he is a cancer survivor. Just four years ago, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare form of plasma cancer cells that also affect the bone marrow.

“If you were to see me in person today, you would not realize that I had four years of medical treatments for multiple myeloma,” Winters said. “My friends tell me that it’s hard to believe that I had a serious medical illness.”

Winters also had two stem cell transplants at the medical center at Medical City of Dallas.

He said the treatments and help he received would not have been possible if it weren’t for the financial assistance he received from Good Days from CDF, a non-profit organization that helps patients suffering from chronic illnesses receive financial aid to help pay for their care.

Based in Plano, the organization has been in existence since 2003. It was formerly known as the Chronic Disease Fund.

“We have provided around $1 billion dollars in assistance since our founding,” said Clorinda Walley, executive director of Good Days from CDF. “Our mission is to ensure no one has to choose between getting the medication they need and affording the necessities of everyday living.

“Our founder had Chron’s disease and had to pay $1,600 for one treatment. He could afford it since he was an executive at a big company but at the same time he was concerned about the high cost of treatments for patients with chronic illness and was wondering how people with less financial means could pay for their treatments. When he researched to see how many organizations there were to help people pay medical costs and found out there were very few organizations in the country to help people in this situation, he decided to start Good Days from CDF.”

The organization helps around 100,000 to 120,000 patients per year.

Walley said the foundation assists patients with paying for their medications when they can’t afford them after their insurance has paid its portion.

“In Dallas alone, we have provided $3 million dollars in assistance and we consider ourselves a significant presence in the community in providing that income gap and to those patients in need,” she said.

Winters said his treatments costs ran about $13,000 a month and his insurance only paid half of that. Winters’ doctor suggested he get in touch with the organization to see how they could help.

“When I got in touch with CDF, they assured me that they wanted to do whatever they could to assist me,” Winters said. “Without the support of the CDF, I’m not sure how I might be doing today, not physically, but from a financial stand point. They have been side by side with me for four years now. I have a wife who is 15 years younger than me and without the support I received from Good Days, I’m not sure how I could have some finances in our banking account and to support my wife.”

According to a recent study published in Leukemia, African Americans are twice as likely at a higher risk for getting multiple myeloma than Whites due to genetic factors.

The condition is also the 14th most common cancer in the United States. Researchers also found that among a group of 100,000 African Americans, 14.8 of men and 10.5 percent of women would be diagnosed with the disease.

Winters said he was diagnosed after a routine doctor’s visit four years ago and said he was lucky and blessed to receive the treatment that he had.

“I have been so blessed in the sense that my doctor had informed me early on that at the end of my age, they don’t normally treat people with stem cell transplants,” Winters said. “They rarely treated anyone more than 65 years of age. They decided to take a chance with me. It’s important for me to say based upon my recovery and how things are going on with me now that doctors are now examining whether they should advance this treatment to persons who are older because of my success. I am so pleased that others who are my age will also be eligible for stem cell transplant in the future.”

The organization is funded through donations and in order to qualify for financial aid, certain things like household income and size and personal finances are considered. Also, funding is provided to those with certain chronic conditions. They also help cover transportation and lodging costs for those patients who have to travel far to receive treatment, according to Walley.

“Things have gone wonderfully well for me after all the help I received from Good Days from CDF and the treatments I received from my doctors,” Winters said.

Winters said CDF is an unique, caring organization.

“They have prolonged my life and provided me an opportunity to be active,” he said. “It’s more than just the financial support I received. When I visit their offices, the people there were so welcoming and interested in my progress. I am thankful that there is an organization that helps people financially with medical needs that we probably cannot survive without their contribution and their assistance.”

 Read the original article at Dallas Examiner.

MDEImagine you have a chronic disease. It’s not hard – roughly half of all American adults are living with at least one chronic condition.

Now, imagine you just learned your insurance co-pay for the medications you need will cost 66 percent more on the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE) silver plan than on a standard plan you might purchase through your employer.

Maryland is an exciting place to live and work. It’s the birthplace of religious freedom in the Union, the setting for the TV megahit, The Wire, and home to the groundbreaking podcast, Serial. Despite these claims to fame, our great state is also facing one of the most challenging chronic disease situations in the nation.

The rate of diagnosed chronic diseases is rising across the Chesapeake Bay State and with it comes increased co-pay burdens for patients and a growing financial strain.

Add to that the introduction of the Maryland Exchange and you have a situation where newly insured patients are struggling to pay the high out-of-pocket co-pays for the lifesaving medications they need to survive.

So why should we care?

Historically, heart disease, cancer and stroke – all chronic diseases – are the leading causes of death in Maryland. Roughly 210 and 45 of every 100,000 deaths are attributed to heart disease and stroke, with cancer accounting for an unprecedented 25 percent of all state deaths in 2005.

While the emotional turmoil brought by living with such conditions is unescapable, the financial havoc they evoke is equally distressing. Co-pays for life saving medications can be unattainably high.

For some, the financial burden is simply too great. In many circumstances, patients resort to filling fewer prescriptions, which in turn can lead to more frequent hospitalizations and increased costs to the Maryland taxpayer. A new study by the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease estimates a $142 million increase in hospital spending over the next five years due to exactly this event.

The facts seem bleak, but there is hope. Organizations are spearheading initiatives to help patients with chronic conditions get access to the medications they need to survive. Good Days from CDF, a national non-profit, is doing precisely this by helping patients pay their co-pays. No patient should have to choose between putting food on the table or treating their illness. Keeping patients on a medication regimen is best for both patients and the health care system at large.

So how can we get Maryland financially and physically healthy? Enacting transparent, dependable health care coverage with reasonable co-pays is a start. Doing so will help ensure medication compliance. This coupled with taking steps to prevent chronic disease will go a long way to improving the overall well-being of Marylanders and reducing the burden of high hospital spending.

Clorinda Walley leads the charity with more than 18 years of experience in the healthcare industry and over 6 years in strategic philanthropy. She effectively oversees the strategic and operational responsibility for the staff and programs for Good Days from CDF, as well as the expansion and execution of its mission. With in-depth knowledge of the organization’s core programs, operations and business plans, Clorinda ensures the organization’s programmatic excellence. With her proven expertise, Clorinda has continuously ensured consistent quality of finance and administration, procurement of donations, internal and external communications and development of all patient care initiatives.

 

 

bpImagine you have a chronic disease. It’s not hard – roughly half of all American adults are living with at least one chronic condition.

Now, imagine you just learned your insurance co-pay for the medications you need will cost 66 percent more on the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE) silver plan than on a standard plan you might purchase through your employer.

Maryland is an exciting place to live and work. It’s the birthplace of religious freedom in the Union, the setting for the TV megahit, The Wire, and home to the groundbreaking podcast, Serial. Despite these claims to fame, our great state is also facing one of the most challenging chronic disease situations in the nation.

The rate of diagnosed chronic diseases is rising across the Chesapeake Bay State and with it comes increased co-pay burdens for patients and a growing financial strain.

Add to that the introduction of the Maryland Exchange and you have a situation where newly insured patients are struggling to pay the high out-of-pocket co-pays for the lifesaving medications they need to survive.

So why should we care?

Historically, heart disease, cancer and stroke – all chronic diseases – are the leading causes of death in Maryland. Roughly 210 and 45 of every 100,000 deaths are attributed to heart disease and stroke, with cancer accounting for an unprecedented 25 percent of all state deaths in 2005.

While the emotional turmoil brought by living with such conditions is unescapable, the financial havoc they evoke is equally distressing. Co-pays for life saving medications can be unattainably high.

For some, the financial burden is simply too great. In many circumstances, patients resort to filling fewer prescriptions, which in turn can lead to more frequent hospitalizations and increased costs to the Maryland taxpayer. A new study by the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease estimates a $142 million increase in hospital spending over the next five years due to exactly this event.

The facts seem bleak, but there is hope. Organizations are spearheading initiatives to help patients with chronic conditions get access to the medications they need to survive. Good Days from CDF, a national non-profit, is doing precisely this by helping patients pay their co-pays. No patient should have to choose between putting food on the table or treating their illness. Keeping patients on a medication regimen is best for both patients and the health care system at large. So how can we get Maryland financially and physically healthy? Enacting transparent, dependable health care coverage with reasonable co-pays is a start. Doing so will help ensure medication compliance. This coupled with taking steps to prevent chronic disease will go a long way to improving the overall well-being of Marylanders and reducing the burden of high hospital spending.

Clorinda Walley leads the charity with more than 18 years of experience in the healthcare industry and over 6 years in strategic philanthropy. She effectively oversees the strategic and operational responsibility for the staff and programs for Good Days from CDF, as well as the expansion and execution of its mission. With in-depth knowledge of the organization’s core programs, operations and business plans, Clorinda ensures the organization’s programmatic excellence. With her proven expertise, Clorinda has continuously ensured consistent quality of finance and administration, procurement of donations, internal and external communications and development of all patient care initiatives.

 

 

BTBaltimore resident Raymonna Jean was diagnosed in 2013 with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer that affects the bone marrow.

With not much knowledge of what lay ahead and even less money to seek the kind of care needed to treat the disease, Jean turned to Good Days from CDF, a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to helping ensure that no one living with a chronic condition has to choose between getting the medication they need and affording the necessities of every day life.

“They have made living with this so much easier because when you don’t have money on hand it’s tough,” said Jean, a former nurse whom Good Days from CDF assisted with travel and medical expenses after she learned about the charity while seeking treatment in Arkansas.

The organization, which used to be known as the Chronic Disease Fund, helped to pay Jean’s co-pays, which for her condition is quite expensive. They were also able to foot the bill and provide financial assistance for the extensive traveling involved for Jean’s doctor’s visits.

“We help patients suffering from chronic medical conditions who have limited financial means get access to the medications they need,” said the organization’s executive director Clorinda Walley. “Our program helps qualified patients pay their insurance co-pays so they can get immediate access to prescription medications that will give them relief from pain and suffering.”

Founded in 2003, Good Days provided patients with more than $200 million in assistance last year, a figure Walley said still falls well short of what’s needed.

“I think even if we had $400 million it wouldn’t have been enough,” she said. On average, those who received assistance earn about $39,000 a year, but with co-pays and co-insurance payments eating up as much as $12,000 from their incomes, the patients are left with tough choices.

“In a lot of cases, it’s do I buy my medication or do I eat, or do I pay my mortgage or feed my family,” Walley said. “Education is another key to this and we must educate people about their diseases and their options.”

With help from partners like Aetna, ACS, CVS Caremark, Walgreen’s and various donors, contributions are made through a number of sources and Good Days for CDF is able to assist sufferers of chronic illnesses.

By partnering together and staying true to its core values of integrity, efficiency, dedication and compassion, Good Days for CDF is able to help improve the lives of millions of chronic disease patients across the nation, according to company officials.

They are hoping to put a dent in a cold, but true fact, that millions of Americans are forced to go without medications that can better their lives, Walley said. Although most chronic disease patients have valid insurance, it’s estimated more than 30 percent of them cannot afford the high costs of their treatments and Good Days from CDF is working to change that.

“While helping patients get the medicine they need is what we do, helping them have more Good Days is our goal. We take pride in building long term relationships with our patients and offer a support system that extends far beyond financial assistance,” she said.

“In this light, our organization underwent a name change, from the Chronic Disease Fund to Good Days from CDF. It’s a transition which reflects our evolution as a foundation, befits the optimism in our strength, and identifies the core of our goals.”

Walley says she is not just the executive director, but she is also a chronic disease sufferer.

“For me, the work we do at Good Days isn’t just business— it’s personal. Like many of you, I was diagnosed with a chronic disease in 2007,” she said. “I understand the struggle you and your loved ones are going through. The emotional strain of the unknown coupled with the financial burden can be too much for one person to bear. That’s why I’m here and that’s why Good Days is here.”

For more information about Good Days and to apply for assistance, visit gooddays.numantra.com or call 972-608-7141.

You can read the full story at The Baltimore Times.

 

PSCFor those with chronic diseases and ongoing cancer treatments, the cost of purchasing the necessary medications can be high, affecting more than just the patient’s health.

When Everett Winters, a Plano resident, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer affecting the bone marrow, he was unsure if he would even survive the treatment he had to go through. However, after successfully undergoing treatment, he found that there were new issues that he faced: the high cost of medication.

“If you were to see me [now] … I think you’d be amazed that after having these treatments over the past two years, you would not  recognized me; my hair is back, and my wife and I are so thankful and blessed,” Winters said.

Winters found that his treatment was going to cost him about $16,000 every four months, or about $48,000 a year. And while insurance and Medicare helped to cover some of the cost, it did not do enough to help the retired 80-year-old. Outside help came from a Plano-based nonprofit called Good Days from CDF (GDCDF), formerly known as the Chronic Disease Fund.

Founded in 2003, the nonprofit helps patients cover the costs of their medication by working closely with pharmacies that provided the medications, and sometimes directly with patients’ doctors. According to GDCDF statistics, the organization was able to help nearly 120,000 patients last year, and since its inception has provided about $1 billion to help cover the costs of residents long-term treatments across the country.

“The patients with chronic diseases or cancer, treatment became very costly and many patients were having to make very difficult choices … many aspects of their lives were being affected … it’s not only affecting you physically, but also mentally and emotionally, … it effects your whole family,” said GDCDF Executive Director Clorinda Walley.

According to Walley, the average annual income of the patients the organization helps is a broad range, and that even residents with high incomes can often find it difficult to afford treatment. In most cases, patients can simply reach out to the organization for help. In others, such as Winters’ case, the organization reached out to him.

“They contacted me, and asked if they could be supportive of me in a financial way,” Winters said. “They have been absolutely marvelous and supportive … they make you understand that they are there, and you are important, and your recovery is so important.”

Much of the GDCDF’s funds come from public donations, Walley said. In addition to providing financial aid, the organization in some cases will even provide transportation and lodging assistants to patients, if they have a treatment that is far away and will require them to stay overnight.

“You don’t know us, until you need us,” Walley said. “We’ll continue as long as we see the need in this country continue to grow.”

Read the full story at Plano Star Courier.

MMGreat news!  Funding to help multiple myeloma patients is still available through Good Days from CDF.  There may have been some confusion among readers because the group has changed its name.

January 5th I wrote a post about financial challenges some of us face while taking oral chemotherapy.

One helpful option is to seek help through Good Days from CDF, formerly known as the Chronic Disease Fund (CDF). But someone wrote in to warn readers that multiple myeloma wasn’t funded for 2015; he was led to believe that co-pay assistance wasn’t available yet this year.  I’ve done some investigating and have great news.  My contacts at Good Days reassure me that there is funding available for myeloma patients now; today.

CDF logoI also learned that the non-profit has started a new outreach campaign, aptly named Good Days, to express their desire to help chronic disease patients enjoy life to the fullest.  It’s difficult enough to deal with a cancer diagnosis without worrying about how to pay for expensive, life saving chemotherapy. That’s when Good Days can step in, reimbursing co-pays for patients that need help.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) also provides co-pay assistance to myeloma patients. But one of the things I like best about Good Days from CDF’s program: it’s so simple to apply. No red tape or delays. If you need help, they act first and sort things out later. The Foundation’s goal: to help patients get back to living as normal a life as quickly as possible—free from medically related financial pressures and stress.

To help get the message out, Good Days has crafted a video featuring Everett, a newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patient, and his wife and caregiver, Norma:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnQrvL0HEJQ

On the video, the couple admits that the shock of paying for the oral chemotherapy Everett needed was as bad or worse than learning he had cancer. Working with Good Days from CDF changed that for the better; one of many examples of how Good Days from CDF helps make the lives of thousands of multiple myeloma patients better.

In addition to their co-pay assistance program, Good Days also offers help to patients and caregivers that need travel assistance. I took advantage of this benefit following my stem cell transplant a few years back. Forced to make weekly hour long drives to and from the BMT Unit at Moffitt Cancer Center, Good Days provided me with prepaid Visa cards that I used to pay for gas, tolls and parking.

Myeloma patients needing assistance can overcome unexpected financial hurdles by putting together a patchwork of benefits provided by several different foundations. I recommend contacting Good Days from CDF to see how they can help. I know I appreciate the help they’ve given me over the years.

Feel good and keep smiling! Pat

Read the full story at Multiple Myeloma Blog.

 

PMagellan Health, a healthcare management company with in Avon, CT, guides individuals to make better decisions and live more fulfilling lives by improving the overall quality and affordability of care. Magellan knows all too well how important it is to receive cost-effective, quality care, especially for patients who are in a vulnerable state.

To further this effort, and in the spirit of the season, Magellan Health has donated $7,500 in funding to Good Days from CDF, a non-profit based in Plano, TX that helps patients suffering form a chronic condition with limited financial means get access to the medications they need.

Founded in 2007, Good Days from CDF exists to improve the health and quality of life of patients with chronic diseases, including cancer and other life-altering conditions. Magellan’s donation will help qualified patients pay their insurance co-pays so the can get immediate access to prescription medications that will give them relief from their pain and suffering. It is the goal of both Magellan Health and Good Days from CDF that both during and beyond this holiday season, no one has to choose between getting the medication they need and affording the necessities of everyday living.

Read the full story at Patch.

TCTMagellan Health, an Avon-based health care management company that focuses on today’s most complex and costly health care services, has donated $7,500 to Good Days from CDF. Good Days is a national non-profit that offers co-pay assistance to patients who cannot afford the medication for chronic conditions, including cancer and other life-altering conditions. The cost of medications to treat chronic disease can be staggering, and the recent donation will help change the lives of patients suffering.

Read the full story at Valley Press.

 

 

MyelomaFor those with chronic diseases and ongoing cancer treatments, the cost of purchasing the necessary medications can be high, affecting more than just the patient’s health.

When Everett Winters, a Plano resident, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer affecting the bone marrow, he was unsure if he would even survive the treatment he had to go through. However, after successfully undergoing treatment, he found that there were new issues that he faced: the high cost of medication.

“If you were to see me [now] … I think you’d be amazed that after having these treatments over the past two years, you would not  recognized me; my hair is back, and my wife and I are so thankful and blessed,” Winters said.

Winters found that his treatment was going to cost him about $16,000 every four months, or about $48,000 a year. And while insurance and Medicare helped to cover some of the cost, it did not do enough to help the retired 80-year-old. Outside help came from a Plano-based nonprofit called Good Days from CDF (GDCDF), formerly known as the Chronic Disease Fund.

Founded in 2003, the nonprofit helps patients cover the costs of their medication by working closely with pharmacies that provided the medications, and sometimes directly with patients’ doctors. According to GDCDF statistics, the organization was able to help nearly 120,000 patients last year, and since its inception has provided about $1 billion to help cover the costs of residents long-term treatments across the country.

“The patients with chronic diseases or cancer, treatment became very costly and many patients were having to make very difficult choices … many aspects of their lives were being affected … it’s not only affecting you physically, but also mentally and emotionally, … it effects your whole family,” said GDCDF Executive Director Clorinda Walley.

According to Walley, the average annual income of the patients the organization helps is a broad range, and that even residents with high incomes can often find it difficult to afford treatment. In most cases, patients can simply reach out to the organization for help. In others, such as Winters’ case, the organization reached out to him.

“They contacted me, and asked if they could be supportive of me in a financial way,” Winters said. “They have been absolutely marvelous and supportive … they make you understand that they are there, and you are important, and your recovery is so important.”

Much of the GDCDF’s funds come from public donations, Walley said. In addition to providing financial aid, the organization in some cases will even provide transportation and lodging assistants to patients, if they have a treatment that is far away and will require them to stay overnight.

“You don’t know us, until you need us,” Walley said. “We’ll continue as long as we see the need in this country continue to grow.”

 

 

HCBTAnyone dealing with a chronic disease faces a myriad of emotional, physical, and psychological challenges as they struggle to stay healthy. For many patients, especially those on fixed incomes, an additional burden comes with having to manage the financial aspects required to obtain the one thing that will provide relief: their medications.

Navigating the confusing and costly web of insurance, co-payments, and paperwork requirements is a daunting task. Many medications for life altering conditions pose exorbitant costs to patients. While there are many sources of financial support available, qualifying for this support too often requires hours and hours of time. And when you are a chronic disease sufferer, time is precious.

So it is essential that patients, healthcare professionals and pharmacists know where to look.

If a patient has no insurance at all, and if they make less than $100,000 annually, there are free drug programs available directly through the pharmaceutical manufacturers who develop a specific medicine or treatment. In fact, every product manufacturer that treats a chronic illness offers corresponding programs to help commercially insured patients, regardless of financial criteria. These programs go as far as providing co-pay offsets directly to a patient’s local pharmacy.

That still leaves a majority of patients who have insurance (whether through a private plan or through government sponsorship programs such as Medicare and Medicaid) but still find they are falling short. That’s where organizations like Good Days from CDF play an invaluable role, by helping patients who fall into this gap.

Nearly all chronic conditions are treatable with medications. Getting access to those medications in a timely manner is the hard part. With a better understanding of the resources that are available to help navigate the web of insurance, co-payments, and paperwork requirements, patients benefit by saving money and, more importantly, time.

Clorinda Walley is the executive director of Good Days from CDF, one of the few charitable organizations that provides financial assistance to patients who cannot afford the medications they desperately need.

Read the original story at  Healthcare Business Today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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