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Patient Advocate Foundation Executive Board Member Meets With First Lady Michelle Obama to Discuss Patient Access Challenges in Healthcare

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2009-10-25 03:56:56     
Patient Advocate Foundation

The Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) -- a national non-profit organization providing patient services to tens of thousands of patients every year who are unable to obtain access to care because of financial or insurance denials -- is pleased to announce that PAF Executive Board Member Venus Gines, founder and CEO of Dia de la Mujer Latina(TM) Inc (Day of the Latin American Woman), provided first-hand testimony today to First Lady Michelle Obama regarding her own and other patients' experiences in being denied health insurance due to pre-existing conditions, and the need to protect patients against such discrimination under healthcare reform.

"As a breast cancer survivor who was denied health insurance because of my previous bout with cancer, and in seeing my sister's untimely death of cervical cancer due to HPV, I became dedicated to increasing screening and reducing patient mortality for breast and cervical cancer, as well as to helping all patients facing chronic, life threatening and debilitating illnesses gain access to needed health care services through my work with PAF," said Gines. "I am honored to have had the opportunity to share my perspective on these matters with Mrs. Obama today, and I have much hope that our Congress will address these critical issues as it strives to overhaul our health care system."

As Gines relayed to the First Lady, her experience in facing coverage denials is not uncommon - and, unfortunately, as more Americans lose their health insurance due to unemployment or pre-existing conditions, they are then unable to access even basic life-saving medical care and treatment. According to PAF's 2008 Patient Data Access Report (PDAR), there was a 146 percent increase from the previous year in cases of patients who were negatively affected by a pre-existing medical condition and/or who met underwriting criteria as a result of a previous illness.

Gines, who is also an Executive Board Member of the National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) - the companion organization of PAF, providing the patient voice in improving access to, and reimbursement for, high-quality healthcare through regulatory and legislative reform at the state and federal levels - founded Dia de la Mujer Latina (DLM) in 1997 in recognition of the need to promote greater health awareness to the underserved Latino community. Today, DLM Health Fiestas have provided culturally and linguistically specific health education and screening, follow-up care and navigation for follow-up services to poor, underserved, and uninsured Latinos in over 30 cities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, with successful outreach to nearly 55,000 women of all races and ethnicities.

"We are so very pleased to have Venus Gines contributing her valuable expertise and dedication in helping advance PAF's and NPAF's shared mission of helping patients in need gain access to important medical care services," said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, Founder and CEO of PAF and NPAF. "Venus is such an esteemed advocate for Latinos as well as for all patients, and we commend the First Lady for inviting her testimony on patient access to care challenges that are central to reforming American health care. On behalf of the patients we serve, we urge the Administration to address this concern in health care reform."

About the Patient Advocate Foundation

Patient Advocate Foundation is a national non-profit organization that seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability.Call toll free (800) 532-5274.

About Dia de la Mujer Latina

The mission of Dia de la Mujer Latina is to promote health awareness to the underserved Latino community by providing ethnic-specific education; Promotora training, a culturally specific setting for early detection screening and prevention care; a resource information center and patient navigation for follow-up services.

Specialized in: Patient Advocate - First Lady Michelle Obama - Patient Access Challenges - Healthcare
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