Memorial Foundation & COVID-19 News »

Make A Difference One Car Ride at a Time

Patients undergoing life-changing treatments for cancer and other chronic conditions should be solely focused on healing, not matters of transportation or appointment coordination. This sentiment has guided us in our partnership with local cancer treatment center, North Star Lodge, and supporting their Patient Assistance Fund.

After diagnoses, patients are often left waiting for their request for assistance to make its way through the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). When waiting on approval or denial for aid, this in-between period devastatingly leaves many with no way to support themselves as they begin treatment—the Patient Assistance Fund helps fill in these gaps. North Star Lodge understands the magnitude of these situations and how each moving piece affects the next. Through the Patient Assistance Fund, North Star Lodge alleviates the uneasiness of waiting and keeps things moving by immediately getting funds to patients and their families.

Arthur Garza, Patient Financial Advocate and Spanish Medical Interpreter at North Star Lodge, has connected with and assisted many patients since joining the team.

“The Patient Assistance Fund has been a tremendous help in providing people the assistance they need and quickly,” Garza raves.

Sometimes this aid comes in the form of gas vouchers or other ways to provide patients with transportation. While this may seem trivial to some, patients at North Star Lodge can attest to the significance of this service.

One patient who received Patient Assistance Fund assistance lives a fair distance away from North Star Lodge, in Ellensburg, Washington. Early in his diagnoses and treatment, this patient was dependent on a friend to drive him to his appointments. Unfortunately, the friend moved to Alaska not long after, and the patient’s FMLA request had yet to begin—leaving him with no way to commute to his appointments.

Through the Patient Assistance Fund, Garza and his team facilitated transportation for this patient, to and from North Star Lodge allowing him to continue treatment without missing a beat. While the patient focused on healing, Garza and his team also navigated the Medicaid system, which covers not just treatment, but also transportation costs.

Employing the Patient Assistance Fund is merely a fraction of what Garza and his team do day in and day out. The team at North Star Lodge works tirelessly to coordinate and assist patients, guiding them through the sometimes-unwieldy Medicaid and Medicare systems, right down to the more mundane tasks of getting to and from appointments.

“There are many people on our team who are always communicating with one another, giving them updates on the patients we’re working with,” said Garza. “This way, we know everyone receives the attention they deserve, and no one falls through the cracks. Just like at the Memorial Foundation, we’re just programmed to always help no matter what.”

Not long ago, another patient traveling from Nile, Washington ran out of gas one block away from North Star Lodge. Without a second thought, Garza ran home and grabbed his gas can before rushing to the patient and getting them back on the road. As is typical for the North Star team, Garza went above and beyond, ensuring that the patient had enough gas to get to their appointment, and then proceeded to give them money to fill up the rest of their tank, guaranteeing they’d safely make it home.

People like Garza and his team help fuel our passion for ensuring patients have access to the necessary funds so they can focus on what matters most – getting healthy. It’s only thanks to the gracious donors and supporters in our community that these stories are even possible and that those in need can receive treatment without additional worries. Without access to the Patient Assistance Fund, many people face disruptions or delays to their treatment. You can make a difference in their lives and continue to support the patients at North Star Lodge by donating today.

“Your health and wellbeing should be your focus; we’ll take care of the rest.” – Arthur Garza