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Patient Advocates From All 50 States Gather in Nation's Capital to Meet With Lawmakers and Urge Support of Legislation Assuring Patient Access to Care

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 General News J E 4
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PAF Hosts Representatives in Effort to Promote Healthcare Access for All

WASHINGTON, June 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Patients and representatives from the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) - a national non-profit organization that seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability relative to their diagnosis of life threatening or debilitating diseases – are in Washington, D.C. this week for the organization's 11th Annual Patient Congress. The gathering is aimed at addressing the access to care needs of patients suffering from life threatening or debilitating diseases. Last year alone, PAF received in excess of 4 million contacts from patients, family members and care professionals requesting access to care information and assistance.  Of those contacts, PAF's professional senior patient navigators successfully resolved 55,384 cases for patients that required direct, sustained mediation and arbitration services.

PAF's two-day Patient Congress allows patients, caregivers, health care professionals and non-profit patient advocacy representatives to explore the healthcare system and participate in the legislative process by meeting with their leaders in Washington and advocating for legislation that assures enhanced patient access to care. Participants will attend educational workshops and meet with Members of Congress to help advance the national dialogue and drive solutions on improving patient access to care.

"We are excited to be in Washington meeting with legislators and providing a voice for all patients," said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, CEO of PAF.  "It is a sad fact that nearly two-thirds of the 55,000 patients contacting PAF for information and assistance in 2009 reported debt crisis issues due to direct medical expenses, and over 80 percent of those patients were fully insured, but still unable to access medical care. We are committed to creating programs and services that ensure no patient is turned away and that all people receive the quality care they need and deserve. We will continue working with Congressional leaders to ensure that patients across the nation are protected from health care discrimination and the many forms that it takes."

This year, 14 members of the U.S. Senate and 57 members of the U.S. House of Representatives will serve as Honorary Chairpersons of the 11th Annual Patient Congress. PAF is appreciative of their valuable support and thankful for their work on behalf of America's vulnerable and frail patient population.

While meeting with legislators this year, Patient Congress participants will be asking their elected officials to support a permanent solution to the Medicare physician reimbursement formula as well as legislation to safeguard all Americans against medical debt crisis. Participants will also ask members of Congress to support the "Medical Bankruptcy Fairness Act" and the "Health Insurance Rate Authority Act," and will ask for support in applying a comprehensive definition of out-of-pocket medical spending within the Health Insurance Exchanges.

PAF was founded on the principle that healthcare is a basic human need and shared social responsibility, and is grateful that the health care reform legislation passed this year addressed the barrier that annual and lifetime limits present for patients, and that it imposed a cap on out-of-pocket expenses for all patients.  These important steps will reduce the number of Americans faced with medical debt and bankruptcy, and together with the enhanced affordability provisions added in the reconciliation part of this package, makes great progress toward providing Americans with truly affordable access to health insurance coverage.

PAF services are available to all patients, patient families and medical professionals and offer a variety of patient assistance programs including Co-Pay Relief and Colorectal CareLine, as well as insurance claims intervention, job retention services and debt crisis management. For more information about the 11th Annual Patient Congress, please visit www.pc.patientadvocate.org or call toll free (800) 532-5274. 

Patient Advocate Foundation is a national non-profit organization that seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability.

SOURCE Patient Advocate Foundation

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