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Helping Patients Overcome Transportation Barriers

Written By Ayesha Azam, Senior Director of Medical Affairs, PAN Foundation

When Phyllis was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, her top concern was how she and her husband would cover the expensive co-pays for her medication. She also worried that they would be financially unable to keep their car for travel to her medical appointments. Phyllis knew that her access to treatment—and hope for recovery—would face insurmountable barriers without reliable transportation.

After expressing these concerns to her doctor, the cancer center where she received care connected her to the PAN Foundation. We were able to provide Phyllis with a grant to cover the cost of her treatment—relieving her of the fear that she would lose her car and struggle to access the care she needed.

Impact on Access

What would have happened to Phyllis if she had not received patient assistance and maintained access to reliable transportation?

Research on healthcare access tells us that she would likely become one of the 3.6 million Americans who forgo needed medical care each year because they cannot secure transportation to get treatment.

As patient advocates, we know the availability and cost of transportation can significantly impact a patient’s access to treatment. And, whether it’s an issue of finding or affording a ride, patients suffer when they can’t make it to their medical appointments or pick up their prescriptions.

Safeguards to address transportation barriers exist, but there are gaps that exclude economically vulnerable seniors from receiving help. Non-emergency medical transportation is covered under Medicaid, but most Medicare beneficiaries do not have access to the program.

 

Filling the Gap: PAN Offers Rideshare Assistance

At the PAN Foundation, we provide co-pay, premium and travel assistance in the form of grants to eligible patients with life-threatening, chronic and rare diseases. To help patients overcome transportation barriers, we developed a new rideshare program to diversify our travel programs and better support those we serve.

Our recently launched Treatment Transport pilot program provides grants to reduce the cost of rideshare trips to the doctor’s office or pharmacy for people being treated for any of PAN’s 60 covered diseases. Eligible patients receive up to a $10 subsidy per ride for 10 rides.

We are hopeful that this new program will help bridge the transportation gap between patients and the treatments they need.

Learn More

 For more information about the program benefits and eligibility criteria, please visit our website.

To explore PAN’s advocacy resources—including educational materials for patients and cost sharing resources for advocates—click here.

About the Author

Ms. Azam is the Senior Director of Medical Affairs at the Patient Access Network Foundation. She manages the clinical parameters of PAN’s assistance programs and oversees PAN’s provider and pharmacy outreach. Prior to joining the PAN Foundation, Ms. Azam worked at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on a prior authorization solution and a genetic testing program. Ms. Azam is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and has a Master of Science degree in Health Informatics Administration from the University of Maryland University College

About the PAN Foundation

The PAN Foundation is an independent, nationwide 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing help and hope to underinsured patients who are unable to afford the out-of-pocket expenses for their prescribed medications. Since 2004, PAN has provided over $3 billion in financial assistance to nearly 1 million patients who would otherwise be unable to afford their medications. To learn more, visit www.panfoundation.org.

Samantha Skelton
ss@triagecancer.org