CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – A dialysis patient is in limbo tonight and fearing the worst after learning financial help he's come to depend on has ended. He may have to pay the $1,000 a month insurance premiums himself. The impact is far reaching.
100,000 dialysis patients get charitable dollars from the American Kidney Fund. Here's how it works:
The dialysis clinic submits an application for a grant, and A.K.F. pays the insurance premium. In this case, Barry's was denied. He asked us to find out why.
"That right there is $581 for 1 month," said Barry Druin.
Barry Druin has chronic kidney failure and without insurance, he can't get his medicines. Barry does home peritoneal dialysis and requires daily blood purification to live. All those boxes, bags, supplies and medicines are for, his survival. He and his wife Linda, who's also on disability, recently found out the American Kidney Fund denied his grant application to pay his insurance premium. She called DaVita, the dialysis clinic that submits his application and the American Kidney Fund.
"When I talk to the American Kidney Fund and they say the money is there to pay it and all you have to do is submit a piece of paper," said Linda Druin.
But DaVita says the claim was denied.
"I'm just sitting on pins and needles because I want an answer," she said. "You have given a death sentence to patients because you can't turn off the electricity. That's what runs the machine. You can't stop the medication, that's what keeps him alive also."
I contacted both companies. I am still waiting to hear back from A.K.F.
DaVita- Corporate issued a written statement that does not explain a lot but it says, "DaVita been proactively talking with patients about the policy change...When it became clear that there is an increasing need for Medigap funding but a finite pool of money from which to pay those premiums. It says it is committed to helping its patients and is working to find other insurance options."
Not the best answer for patients like Barry who may have to pay the one thousand dollar a month premium out of pocket.
"All of that coming out of a $1700 a month income. So what does that leave you to pay bills, buy groceries and gas and get prescriptions," Barry said.
Barry tells me other clinics are available but there's no guarantee those doctors are accepting new patients. He also says he loves DaVita and hopes the company will reconsider and workout new arrangements with the American Kidney Fund.