Financial Assistance Program Complements Medical Care for Patients in Need

As a massage therapist, Kate spends a lot of time kneading out her clients' aches and pains and healing their physical woes with her therapeutic touch. So when the Montello resident awoke one morning in March 2009 with extreme pain, swelling and blistering in her arms, she knew she needed serious medical help.


"I looked like a burn victim," Kate said. "I had no idea what was going on. I just kept thinking, 'I need my arms!'"


Kate spent three nights at UW Hospital, where doctors diagnosed her with a rare autoimmune disease. The doctors treated Kate's symptoms and recommended a follow-up care plan.


"I'm self-employed and uninsured so I was worried about how I was going to afford my hospital visit, especially with the economy these days," Kate said. "My doctors at UW encouraged me to apply for the (Financial Assistance Program) and I was absolutely ecstatic when I was approved!"


The hospital's accounting department adjusted Kate's bill by over $22,000 - and she isn't alone. In 2008, UW Hospital and Clinics provided $25.7 million in charity care at charges to nearly 5,000 patients through the Financial Assistance Program, an increase of over 40 percent more patients than in 2007.


The program helps patients pay off their debts by working with the accounting department to apply for financial assistance to cover a portion or all of a medical bill.


When medical problems arise, UW Hospital and Clinics wants patients to focus on what matters most - their health. For Kate and thousands of other patients, the Financial Assistance Program is able to relieve financial worries from already stressful medical situations. Just months after her health scare, Kate is managing her autoimmune disease, back to giving massages and debt-free.


"I cannot thank the (Financial Assistance Program) enough for approving my adjustment," Kate said. "Although sick, my experience at UW Hospital was exceptional. Thank you so very much!"