Our Role and Responsibility
In this new reality brought on by coronavirus, the angst and uncertainty we are all experiencing is something that our families live with every day as cancer patients.
At Family Reach, our role has always been to help patients and families get to the other side of cancer. With immune-compromised systems, our patients exercise extreme caution at home, while traveling, and at their treatment location every day, let alone during a global health pandemic.
As news of city-wide and statewide lockdowns emerge across the country, our families wonder how they will get to their treatment appointments or if they should risk public transportation to buy groceries. In some cases, oncologists are advising they do not travel for treatment at all, which can mean severe consequences for their recovery and health.
In the face of these new challenges, we remain focused on our responsibilities to the entire Family Reach community. Most importantly, we continue to listen to the families and healthcare professionals we partner with to deliver our services. Their feedback has led to the following intentional changes to both our fundraising and program delivery models.
COVID-19 Emergency Fund: Launched in March, this new fund will enable us to continue providing our solutions through the Financial Treatment Program to all eligible families, including those most affected by hardships caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
Online Direct Financial Assistance: The capacity of hospital oncology social workers is stretched during these trying times while they are working from home or are redirected to departments treating COVID-19. In order to alleviate the burden on healthcare professionals, Family Reach launched a new web-based application enabling patients and families to apply for services directly. Funding from the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund will be used to offer direct financial support to patients in active treatment at any facility in the United States.
COVID-19 Fast Track: To quickly meet the needs of the families most critically affected, Family Reach has implemented Fast Track access to the Financial Treatment Program. Over 80% of families with cancer are reporting additional lost income since the onset of coronavirus. In many cases, the household income is down to zero. When completing our online application, families are asked to provide details on the impact of COVID-19 on their household, and when deep need is identified, they are immediately connected with a dedicated Family Reach Resource Navigator.
COVID-19 Resource Navigation & Financial Planning: As state and federally subsidized programs are announced, cancer patients are too overwhelmed to navigate their way to realizing their benefits. Family Reach Resource Navigators are actively streamlining the programs and policies that offer financial relief and will launch a patient-facing tool on our website to walk patients through the simplest steps they can take. Patients can work with a Navigator over the phone or navigate it on their own. Once launched, the tool will be updated weekly. Our volunteer Certified Financial Planners™ will be trained on the tool to ensure that they understand the best financial solutions for families with cancer.
Thousands of families with cancer across the US are experiencing drastic financial hardship in the wake of this pandemic. We are working around the clock to help them. With your support today, we can continue to provide steady and reliable programs in this time of tremendous need.