Living with Lupus: A Unique Perspective on Patient Care

May is Lupus Awareness Month

Living with Lupus: A Unique Perspective on Patient Care

The National Institutes of Health estimates more than 23 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease, and that number is increasing every year.  Today, autoimmune diseases receive a significant amount of attention and new therapies to treat these disorders are in the pipeline for approval this year.

When I was diagnosed with lupus in 1995, however, much less was known about these conditions. At the time, I was a young mother who’d always been very healthy. I’d recently brought home a new baby boy and I couldn’t have been prouder of him. Lupus was not in my plans – nor were many of the symptoms it can bring, including fatigue, joint pain, and stiffness.

Though I’ve had some significant flares and been quite ill, I’m fortunate to be able to manage this disease with medication and healthy lifestyle choices. It’s become a personal goal for me to help educate others about the condition, especially in May of each year when we recognize Lupus Awareness Month. Living with Lupus has given me a unique perspective on the needs of patients and prescribers. I understand the challenges and burdens patients and their families encounter every day, and I draw on my diagnosis as an educational opportunity to help my team truly understand what it means to be a patient living with a disease.

I lead UBC’s  commercial services operations teams, providing manufacturers with best-in-class services in patient access programs, including reimbursement hubs, clinical contact centers, patient assistance programs, field nursing, and administration of risk evaluation & mitigation (REMS) programs.  Throughout my career, I’ve gained a deep understanding of the challenges of frontline responsibilities for large patient populations. I often tell my team and colleagues that behind every phone call, fax, or email is a patient in need of care.

One of my teams provides support for a product with an indication to treat Lupus. We provide full reimbursement services, including benefits investigation, prior authorization and appeals support, specialty pharmacy triage, and patient care. For patients who are uninsured or underinsured, we are the administrator of the manufacturer’s patient assistance program. My team understands that Lupus patients often receive a prescription when they’re experiencing a flare and getting medication to them as quickly as possible is critical.

 
I’ve learned that Lupus need not be a limiting factor, personally or professionally. Lupus has influenced me to be a bold, visionary leader always willing to find ways to assist patients with their access to therapies. With autoimmune conditions on the rise, my team and I want to do everything we can to help improve patient outcomes. We believe a positive, encouraging and collaborative approach is the best way to do that.

Contact us if you’d like to learn more about our specialized patient access services.