Medical non-profit feels financial pinch

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - At 58-years-old Art DeMario has seen more than his fair share of doctors.

"I was born with hemophilia A, which is a clotting disorder. And I am the severe type," said Art.

He needs shots three times a week, and each one comes with a $1,500 price tag. So he turned to Patient Services, a non-profit agency designed to help patients who suffer from a chronic disease.

"I don't know what I would have done. I mean we're talking $1,200-$1,400 a month for a premium, plus you've got a $250 co-pay," he said.

PSI covered his premiums and co-pays, easing his mountain of bills. But due to recent funding issues, Patient Services was forced to stop helping Art.

"They were unable to cover my full premium coverage and I was unable to pick up the rest, so I was forced to go to Medicare," Art said.

"We have to have one person go off before we can put another person on," said Patient Services Founder Dana Kuhn.

He says Patient Services is already seeing a 35% boost in clients this year. When it comes to Medicaid, 44,000 more Virginians are now covered compared to just two years ago - 5,500 come from Chesterfield County alone.

"People only need our help 13-24 months and for the amount of money during that time of only $5,000-$15, 000," said Kuhn.

Rising healthcare costs and a decrease in donations are making it difficult for PSI, but Kuhn continues to work.  And even though they can't help him now, Art's well aware of the agency's impact.

"I would basically be homebound and bed-ridden," Art said.

Medical Help:

McGuire Veterans Hospital (if individual is a veteran)

VCU-MCV Medical Center

Virginia Dept. of Social Services

Patient Services Inc. (patients who suffer from chronic illness) 1-800-366-7741

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