In the spirit of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, one of the most important things we can do is spread the word about some amazing resources for prostate cancer patients. ZERO360, our free comprehensive patient support service, is one of the most popular programs that we offer at ZERO. Matching case managers with individual patients, ZERO360 provides one-on-one support by addressing insurance barriers, locating financial resources, and being an emotional confidante. This year, during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, access to these benefits is more crucial than ever, and in recent months we’ve seen an increase in patients utilizing ZERO360 for COVID-19-related issues.
“Our case managers are here to help with many issues, even those that you may feel there is no resolution,” said Courtney Jones, senior director of case management for ZERO’s patient support programs. “Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and reach out.”
Among ZERO360’s COVID-19-related cases, the most common issue that patients have dealt with are transportation expenses. For prostate cancer patients that commute back and forth for regular treatments and who often rely on hotels and air travel, this crisis has had a particularly hard impact. Luckily, ZERO360 is well-equipped to relieve these stressors; for example, case managers are trained on negotiating lodging costs and applying for financial aid through national and local organizations.
“This pandemic has had a very large impact on many individuals, especially those experiencing a loss of employment or insurance,” Jones continued. “We’ve actually seen an increase in requests for financial assistance and individuals seeking access to health insurance, whether that would be affording COBRA coverage, or looking into a marketplace plan.”
The second most common issue for COVID-closed cases is the inability to afford medication costs. As Jones pointed out, those who find themselves uninsured due to a sudden change in their employment status face huge difficulties paying for medication that was once covered. ZERO360 is here to help navigate these insurance barriers, reduce co-pays, and make sure that patients aren’t cut off from vital access to health care.
Kayla Shivley, a ZERO360 case manager, described a patient with whom she recently helped cover his insurance claims, a confusing and often overwhelming road to navigate. After receiving a cancer diagnosis and losing his job within the same month, ZERO360 helped him apply for unemployment benefits, enroll within new COVID-19-specific resources, and contact his treatment facility’s financial aid program. Together, they managed to completely cover his medical bills so that he had zero out-of-pocket expenses.
“It was a very emotional time for him, between the diagnosis, the pandemic, and losing his income … Being able to relieve these unexpected financial burdens really allowed the patient to focus on himself again and continue healing from the diagnosis” said Shivley.
As this Prostate Cancer Awareness Month comes to a close, we at ZERO are proud to be able to offer dynamic programs like ZERO360. As the only national case management program dedicated exclusively to helping prostate cancer patients, ZERO 360 has provided life-saving support to hundreds of patients since its inception. Things look a little different these days, but we’ve adapted to the times and our case managers are equipped to relieve situations that are borne of this current health crisis. We are so grateful to our many donors for making this program possible.
To learn more about ZERO360’s comprehensive patient support, click here.