Making a Difference, One Patient at a Time

Making a Difference, One Patient at a Time

I began my career with UBC as a patient care advocate in our patient assistance call center in St. Louis. Working in the call center gave me the opportunity to have a positive impact on hundreds of lives. There are several patient stories that are special to me; they remind me every day that UBC’s Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) undoubtedly save lives.

I’ve carried one patient’s story with me ever since he called to inquire about a PAP two years ago. I began the call as I would any other: I gathered his information, confirmed his eligibility, and explained how the program worked. The gentleman hesitated — he felt that he shouldn’t be entitled to assistance when others were struggling more than he was.

He then began to share very personal information with me. He explained that he was a Vietnam veteran. He told me about his family — his son passed away several years before in an accident and his wife had recently passed. He was left with just his dog, Peaches. He lived on a small income, and his house had been damaged by a fire, but he could not afford to make repairs. To save money, he did away with all of the items he felt were unnecessary, which, unfortunately, included some of his medications. Still, he repeatedly said, “I’m lucky to have what I have.”

After he opened up to me, I encouraged him to accept the prescription assistance that he was eligible for. I personally walked him through the application forms. I advised him that once UBC received his application, I would call his doctor if we hadn’t received the prescription. He told me that he didn’t want to “inconvenience” me and said he would get the prescription from his doctor — but not for four months, since that was the earliest appointment he could get.

We received his application one week later, and I called his doctor to explain the situation. The physician sent the prescription directly to our program, and we enrolled the gentleman within three days of application receipt.

When I called to tell him the good news, he was completely silent, and then I heard him sobbing. He thanked me for everything I had done to help him. He said he never expected to get this particular medication since he could not afford it, and he had started to accept that his health would decline without it. He told me to never forget that I make a difference in people’s lives — and that I made a world of difference in his.

I think of every patient I touch as a member of my own family and do everything in my power to help them get the care they need. My work has a positive impact on so many lives and I’m lucky to work with an organization full of individuals with the same outlook on patient care.