Many patients undergoing cancer treatment desperately need financial aid. In response to that need, RMCA created the Financial Assistance (FA) program. It provides a one-time assistance (with a maximum of two awards) for basic necessities such as food, housing, utilities, transportation, health insurance, and other immediate needs.
Working on their own or with their social worker, patient navigator, case worker, or health care professional patients complete a financial statement of need for submission to RMCA. The standard qualifications require that the patient be currently receiving medical treatment for cancer and have an adjusted annual household income that does not exceed 75 percent of the Colorado median income based on federal LIHEAP income guidelines.
Once approved, RMCA issues assistance payable to the patient's vendor. The turnaround time is between two and four weeks, depending on when the application is submitted relative to the deadline date. Financial assistance is open to qualified patient regardless of the type of cancer or where treatment is received in Colorado.
RMCA maintains specific data related to each applicant's financial assistance and is able to extrapolate specific information that helps us analyze applicant demographics such as age, annual household income, and household size. We are also able to analyze information specific to each assistance award such as the percentage of assistance that is disbursed for housing, utilities, food, transportation, and other costs.
Financial Assistance recipients in random months have been asked to complete and return a voluntary and anonymous customer satisfaction survey. Response has been overwhelmingly positive; however, many respondents have noted that one-time assistance is not adequate compared to their ongoing financial need during cancer treatment.
RMCA has surveyed the referring professionals that submit assistance applications on behalf of cancer patients. A common theme among those completing the survey is that assistance is needed more than one time and the income guideline might be too low as the need for financial support for higher income people is as great as the financial need for lower income people. Feedback from the referring professionals will help us better understand the needs of the cancer community we seek to serve.