At CareMetx, our personal and professional histories are the foundation for our corporate culture. Many of the individuals within our organization have been personally impacted by rare disease. Our founder’s son suffered from a rare disease.
Through these experiences, we’ve seen firsthand the problems within the healthcare industry that currently present various challenges for patients and their loved ones- and we aren’t willing to sit idly by. Our team members are truly dedicated to making a real difference for people battling life-threatening conditions, and we are committed to helping every patient we assist.
Below, hear from Senior Manager of CareMetx Hub Operations, Sumaira Qureshi, as she shares her experience in the healthcare industry, and discusses why she feels so strongly about the work we’re doing here at CareMetx today:
When I think about patient access to medications, I’m reminded of the time I spent working as a pharmacy technician years ago. Back then, I often encountered situations in which patients were prescribed medications that their insurance covered- but, the out-of-pocket patient copays they were responsible for were often prohibitively expensive. I used to hear those patients express their frustrations about how much money these drugs were, and how they wished they had access to copay or patient assistance programs.
Similarly, I have a family member who was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, had been laid off, and did not qualify for Medicare or any of the state-sponsored insurance plans. They were prescribed a drug that would help them control the disease, and the manufacturer had a program that would provide financial assistance. They applied and sent in all the required documentation- then never heard back. They never even received a confirmation to inform them that their application was received and being reviewed. Eventually, they decided not to fill the prescription due to the cost.
I consider situations like this and have to ask myself- why is it so hard for our patients to get access to the therapy they need? Why does the current landscape make it so hard for sick people? Throughout my career as a pharmacy technician, I saw a vast number of patients experience hardship in accessing life-saving therapies and drugs, with no one to advocate for them the way I see CareMetx does today.
As I write this, I’m reminded of one particular patient. Month after month, this patient would pay over $1,000 for a therapy they could not afford to be without. They told me they had to take a second job to pay for this therapy because their insurance would not cover it after the free trial period ended. The provider and patient both fought for months to get this care covered by the insurance company, but failed every time. The look on this patient’s face when they told me what they were going through touched me so deeply, that I spent the rest of my shift trying to find some type of assistance for them; anything that would help with the hardship they were dealing with.
Working in CareMetx Hub Services
I started working on the CareMetx hub services team almost ten years ago. Given what I know now, I look back and wonder if this particular patient ever qualified for patient assistance programs that could have helped them afford their care. I believe a lot of patients are unable to adhere to their prescribed regimens without help obtaining assistance such as this.
Today, I’m truly glad to see more and more pharmaceutical companies offering some type of assistance- whether it be free trial, copay assistance, or other financial programs- anything to help patients have access to the therapy they need.
I can’t tell you how many times I have relayed benefits information to patients who simply responded, “I can’t afford that.” But when I mention they qualify for financial assistance, it’s this huge relief. We need to remember that our patients have a lot going on in their lives already- so to alleviate the burden of affordability, we are truly making an impact in these individual’s lives.
As far as we’ve come, the system is not perfect today, and we are still bound to experience roadblocks- but compared to where we were fifteen years ago, patient access is heading in the right direction. Hopefully in the future, we will be able to assist all patients with getting access to the therapy they need to live a healthier and better life. Because at the end of the day, access to treatment should not be this difficult. Should it?