877-HELP-4-HEP; a Peer Advocacy Success Story

San Francisco, CA, March 19, 2012 --(PR.com)-- The first week of February brought both good news and bad news to Mary*. She learned that her husband was an early responder to the powerful triple drug cocktail for hepatitis C. She also found out that their family’s state-sponsored health insurance coverage was going to be terminated.

Several months ago, Mary had called 877-HELP-4-HEP (877-435-7443). Many conversations with peer counselors helped her husband prepare to start treatment at the beginning of the year and provided much needed emotional support for the family.

One counseling conversation raised a flag. A few short weeks after her husband started treatment; Mary mentioned that she got a part-time job to help buy groceries for their family of five. Her HELP-4-HEP counselor was on the alert. What Mary did not consider was that her extra wages might alter her family eligibility for state-sponsored insurance at a very inopportune time.

Mary’s counseling team began reviewing options to avoid disruptions to treatment. When her “bad news” came, it was met with an action plan. Mary’s husband will continue under the care of his current treating physician, receive medications at no cost through patient assistance programs, and get the tests necessary to monitor his progress at a discount.

“This story could have had another ending. It was the proactive work of a group of HELP-4-HEP counselors who made the difference for this family,” said peer counselor, Sue Simon from Hepatitis C Association.

HELP-4-HEP is a project of The Support Partnership which includes HealthPro (formerly Hep-C ALERT), FL; Hepatitis C Association, NJ; Hepatitis Education Project, WA; Hep C Connection, CO; and Project Inform, CA. The helpline operates Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 7:00pm EST. To learn more, visit www.help4hep.org or email info@help4hep.org.

877-HELP-4-HEP peer counselors are available to help your patients too. Palm cards are now available to distribute. Please email your organization’s contact name, site name, address, phone number, and the number of cards desired.

* Name changed.
The Support Partnership
Andi Thomas
Denny Simon