Tips for overcoming financial hardship

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Many kidney disease patients often face financial hardships, such as having to leave a job or struggling to pay for medications. Applying for or maintaining insurance may also be overwhelming and may create challenges with access to care. In today’s episode, physician and a postdoctoral research fellow Dr. Isaac Acquah talks about his recent research into the financial impact on people with chronic kidney disease with guests Beth Witten, a social worker, and Charles Pecoraro, a dialysis patient.

In this episode, you will hear from:

Dr. Isaac Acquah, MD, MPH

Dr. Isaac Acquah is a physician and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Outcomes Research at Houston Methodist Hospital. He holds an MD degree from the University of Ghana School of Medicine and Dentistry, and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is particularly concerned about health care disparities and social determinants of health. Prior to moving to the United States, he practiced in both rural and urban settings where he directly experienced the influences of these determinants on a person’s health. His current work as a postdoctoral fellow involves understanding health care disparities among different patient populations and how they affect patient outcomes.

Beth Witten

Beth Witten is a renal social worker. She has worked with dialysis and transplant patients for over 40 years. She has been an NKF employee and volunteer and past chair of NKF's social work council. Beth ran CKD classes for many years. She consults with the nonprofit Medical Education Institute. Beth speaks and writes on choosing a treatment, paying for treatment, working and living your best life with kidney disease.

Charles Pecoraro

Charles Pecoraro is a dialysis patient who is also currently on the transplant waitlist at Mayo Clinic in Florida. In June 2019 he was diagnosed and treated for Malignant Melanoma Cancer. In follow up visits with his PCP, they found he had high blood pressure. He experienced debilitating emotional, mental, and physical symptoms from CKD that ultimately affected his ability to continue working and he lost the business he had owned for many years. He also experienced delays in care due to insurance issues and ultimately started on dialysis emergently in March 2020. Charles is a kidney advocate with NKF.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

  • dol.gov (U.S. Department of Labor)
  • ssa.gov/redbook or (800) 772-1213 (Social Security Disability Insurance)
  • Healthcare.gov
  • Medicare.gov
  • Needymeds.org and mat.org (Medicine Assistance Tool)
  • Benefits.gov
  • Unitedway.org
  • shiphelp.org or (877) 839-2675 (State Health Insurance Programs)

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