How these underappreciated professionals may be hospitals’ best chance to stay above water
New resources to help patients with COVID-19 related costs are coming online every day. These include help from the state, industry, local, philanthropy, and private resources. We have compiled a running list and are making it available here. In addition, there are over 2,000 sources of patient assistance programs available and a need to collate and make these resources readily available.
Finding and accessing resources for healthcare coverage including COVID care and other chronic care conditions is a job that often falls to Financial Navigators. These are individuals that work for healthcare providers to assist patients in finding resources for uncompensated care. It is easy to see that even as resources pour in, they are only as good as the ability for Financial Navigators to access them.
Financial Navigators help identify ways for patients to get ahead of the seismic changes happening in the employment space, and have unique access to patients at their most vulnerable moments. 16 million Americans are recently unemployed and with health care often tied to employment, many are at risk to lose coverage. Issues about health insurance, access to subsidies and special programs, and even fear of losing a job are top of mind during conversations they have each day.
“This is pressing for patients who are under treatment for chronic care conditions. There may be new out-of-pocket limits and other challenges with COBRA or flipping back to coverage under the ACA as patients go through coverage transitions,” said financial navigation expert Dan Sherman of The NaVectics Group. “The Navigators provide real-time counsel to patients as they are challenged in these moments,” he added.
There is help available on many fronts for Financial Navigators and the healthcare providers they represent. New digital solutions enable hospital staff to help their patients from afar and ensure that healthcare providers can recover lost revenues. Through these solutions, providers can find relief from the financial stress of delivering care and patients can find new ways to fund high, out-of-pocket costs.
In addition, new patient funding streams come online daily. There has been great leadership among America’s pharma companies in launching new support programs for patients. For people living with diabetes experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, Novo Nordisk is offering a free 90-day insulin supply to provide support during the pandemic. Even everyday Americans helped to raise $128 million to fund local COVID care needs through the Global Citizen “One World: Together at Home” campaign.
Healthcare providers must be attentive to the breaking news and look for the newest ways to support patients with funding for uncompensated care. Even philanthropists and major technology firms are providing COVID related funding. However, it is worth a deeper look to see which are funding patient care and financial relief.