Giving Good Days Spring Newsletter- 2023
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She Found Empowerment in a Difficult Situation
Marla, 65, lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where she has been busy building a life coaching business that helps people confront and overcome challenging personal and professional situations. To help cover her everyday expenses as she gets the business off the ground, Marla also has a part-time job cleaning Airbnb rentals in her area.
When cleaning one such Airbnb bedroom last year, Marla experienced something that would threaten her health, financial wellbeing and future plans. She bent down to pick up what looked like a small piece of plastic and felt a tiny prick on her finger. It cut her deep enough to draw blood. She soon realized she had made unsafe contact with a used insulin needle that had been disposed of carelessly. Although the injury looked tiny, its consequences could have been significant due to the potential for infection of blood borne viruses such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis B and C.
Marla’s doctor recommended that she begin a series of blood tests and start a regimen of preventative HIV treatments until they could be sure she did not contract the virus. Even with insurance covering a large portion of the costs, she learned her out of pocket cost would still be between $600-$700 per month.
“I actually considered if it was worth it,” said Marla. “The cost made me second guess myself. It’s hard to explain how shocking something like this is when it happens to you.”
After doing research, Marla was thrilled to learn that Good Days would cover the remaining costs of her treatment.
“The potential to contract HIV was very concerning,” Marla continued. “I called the drug company to ask for a discount and they could not help. I had spent hours on the phone, frantically looking and thinking there has got to be a way to deal with this or I will not get the drug. Then I called Good Days and within half an hour I was approved and able to use the assistance immediately. Good Days was quick, efficient and compassionate. I am so grateful for how easy it was and for the peace of mind.”
Now that tests have sufficiently shown her to be safe from any blood borne viruses, Marla is grateful and excited to be back to focusing on her life coaching business.
“Empowerment in a difficult situation is important,” said Marla. “If you can deal with challenging situations internally, you have power. You can use that as a tool for healing and growth.”
In December, Good Days announced a new partnership with the organization Dollar For to reduce or eliminate debts that individuals may have accumulated from stays and services at nonprofit hospitals.
Individuals enrolled in Good Days programs can now work with a Care Navigator to determine eligibility and receive a referral to a Dollar For advocate who can review available assistance programs that nonprofit hospitals are obligated to provide in accordance with the Affordable Care Act.
Since we announced the partnership late last year, Dollar For has reviewed $59,744 in medical debt from Good Days and in 2022 screened 9,583 bills for charity care eligibility and eliminated $8,555,282 in medical debt.
"The financial toll of an illness comes in many different forms, whether it be hospital bills, premiums or the cost of treatments," said Clorinda Walley, president of Good Days, in a press release announcement. "We're glad to collaborate with Dollar For to help our community access additional resources and financial assistance so that they can focus on their personal wellbeing, not their finances."
"Millions of Americans are on payment plans or declaring bankruptcy for medical bills they legally don't have to pay," said Jared Walker, founder of Dollar For. "A medical crisis shouldn't mean a financial crisis."
The Affordable Care Act requires nonprofit hospitals across the country to offer charity care programs to keep their tax-exempt status. Unfortunately, there is almost no federal oversight of charity care, so most hospitals do the bare minimum to educate patients about these programs. A recent study by the Lown Institute showed that 72 percent of nonprofit hospitals spent less on charity care and community investment than they received in tax breaks. Combined, nonprofit hospitals in 2018 received $17 billion in tax breaks that were not passed on as community benefits.
Dollar For has advocated on behalf of 3,600 Americans to eliminate more than $21 million in medical bills nationally. Individuals who receive assistance from Good Days or their caregivers can work with a Care Navigator or check online at dollarfor.org/gooddays to learn about eligibility for nonprofit hospital debt relief based on a hospital's policy.
LISTEN: EMPOWERED US NETWORK PODCAST
Tune in to the latest episode of The Caregiving Soul with host Dannelle LeBlanc!
On episode one of season two, Dannelle speaks with Kris McCabe, caregiver to a grandmother with Alzheimer’s disease. When Kris’ grandmother moved in with her six years ago, she had no idea sharing her care partnership on TikTok would go viral. With some of the videos of Grams surpassing 4 million views, what originally started as a platform for viral videos and dances has expanded to become a resource, support system and lens into the life of caregivers all over the world.
Find The Caregiving Soul, S2 Episode 1 :How TikTok is Helping Alzheimer's Caregivers Share Support and Advice wherever you get your podcasts or by visiting www.EmpoweredUs.org.
LIVESTREAM EVENT: ADDRESSING MINORITY HEALTH DISPARITIES
As part of the annual Chronic Disease Day campaign, Good Days hosts a livestream event on Addressing Health Disparities each April during national minority health month. This public discussion brings together minority community health advocates and leading patient advocacy nonprofits to overview current initiatives to address health and access to care issues that affect minority populations.
The program agenda and associated social media promotions encourage action through education and awareness.
Tune in to hear from healthcare professionals, policymakers and patient advocates on April 6 at 11am CST / 12pm EST or watch the recording at www.ChronicDiseaseDay.org.
LETTER FROM CEO & PRESIDENT
Although we are less than a quarter of the way through 2023, Good Days is already on track to have significant growth in our reach and impact in the year ahead.
The high costs of innovative treatments combined with changes to Medicare coverage in 2023, including a decrease in the standard Part B premium and a decrease in the Part B deductible, drive increased demand for the charitable resources provided by our organization. To help meet this need, we currently have more than two dozen disease-specific grant programs that offer copay, premium and travel assistance for a wide range of chronic conditions. Throughout the year, we will continue to work to develop new funds that expand the disease communities we serve. In addition to providing direct assistance to hundreds of thousands of individuals this year, Good Days will have a positive impact on our community through two newer branches of our organization – Empowered Us and Chronic Disease Day.
Our storytelling network Empowered Us just launched its second season of The Caregiving Soul podcast. Hosted by Dannelle LeBlanc, the show features health care professionals, experts and influencers who explore the unique dynamics of caregiving relationships. Tune in wherever you get your podcasts and learn from the lived experiences of others. We're also now on TikTok! Follow us @TechnicallySick for community-based recommendations for tips, tricks and hacks to make your day a little bit easier.
In April, we will kick-off our Chronic Disease Day 2023 campaign with an annual livestream event on addressing minority health disparities. Later this year, Good Days will host patient advocacy partners, policymakers and grassroots supporters at events in Frisco, Texas, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, Georgia. The annual Chronic Disease Day campaign engages national healthcare leaders, expert voices and chronic and rare disease community members to raise awareness about ways we can prevent chronic illness and expand access to care for those in need. Stay tuned for more information on upcoming events and ways you can get involved.
Thanks to the support of our donors, Good Days has been able to substantially increase its charitable giving and population served year over year while also building advocacy initiatives that complement our grant programs. Together, we are extending people's lives and building healthier communities.
CEO & President