**Disclaimer: Those that know me; know that I am a glass half full kind of a gal. I usually see the positive and the good in everything and everyone. This Blog will be a little different. This is another side of cancer that I don’t like but we need to see it, discuss it and fix it!
Proceed with caution…
I was just in Boynton Beach Florida teaching a group of wonderful ladies and met (as always) incredible people that are battling cancer.
You know, even after 6 years of teaching and meeting people 2-3 times every month in some location across the US, I am always amazed. I even mention in each class to: ”take notes, because even for me, after all these years of meeting guests and hearing their stories, I learn something new from our guests; every single time!
And this time was no exception. We had three special guests that each had a different story but in the end said something that rang true for each one and really lit the bulb over my head. They each mentioned the financial burden of cancer. Now… I am aware of the costs of cancer and this is not really something new. But, this is something that you and I don’t really (hopefully) have to think about on a daily basis and (in my opinion) should not be something that a person fighting for their life should HAVE to think about.
They mentioned the following:
- They each had no one to take (drive) them to their chemo appointments
- They did not have enough money to pay doctor bills
- They had NO extra money for gas or even food sometimes
As we listened we asked: did they mention their needs or situation to the cancer center, Social worker, Nurse navigator, Dr., insurance company, Medicare, Medicaid or ?????? They said that they had mentioned to all that would listen and that they had received either no response or no help.
If that wasn’t enough, (and this is where the WOW comes in) two of them said that their Dr. offices had sent them to collection agencies and were now informing them that they could not see them until that was cleared up! (And they weren’t even done with cancer or treatment!)
The other said that although she could not pay her bills either, her doctor had not sent her to collection but was still making multiple appointments for her which caused anxiety with each one knowing that she could not pay and that the debt was building up. I don’t even have words for how I felt hearing this. I even have to hold back tears as I am writing this…what?? Really?? Where are we? I thought that we lived in America with health insurance for everyone.… Boy was I wrong!
A student asked if they had approached any of the large non-profits that are set up to help those with cancer. One said yes, but again was told sorry, nothing we can do for you. So even if there is/was help for them, they were not able to easily find it. This is a problem and it needs to get fixed ASAP!
My heart ached for these ladies as even months after they were still dealing with bills, and collection agencies.
So….. where do we go from here? Do we just agree and comment on how horrible this is or do WE DO SOMETHING????
I feel that in order to walk our talk in helping this client, we need to come up with something and we need it quickly.
Who’s with me? Anyone have an idea or a plan that we could get into place ASAP that would be available for clients that are dealing with cancer and all that goes with it? The only thing they should be focusing on is trying to save their life, not how to pay the bills …