'It's nice when you can do this'

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

PHOENIX--HME provider Ron Evans and Respironics Senior Account Manager Dale Joyce helped a family out of a big jam this past winter.

It all started last fall when Evans, the founder of Valley Respiratory Services, spent two months trying unsuccessfully to get an insurance company to cover a cough assist device for two 18-month-old twins with spinal muscular atrophy, Lauren and Kyle Byrd.

This degenerative disease is a more severe form of muscular dystrophy and makes it very difficult and ultimately impossible for its victims to take a deep breath.

Unfortunately, the cough assist, which improves breathing by helping to remove mucous from the lungs, wholesales for $3,000, and the twin’s parents, Chris and Cassandra Byrd, did not have the money to pay for it. Making the situation worse, a sleep test revealed that the twins needed bi-level devices to help them breathe and sleep at night. The couple’s insurance covered the bi-levels but not until they met a high deductible. Together, the cough assist and two bi-levels cost about $5,000 - an impossible amount for the parents.

Then Evans got an idea. He called Joyce and asked him to consider donating a cough assist to the family. He figured Valley could work out some kind of plan to help the Byrds pay for the bi-levels.

“Dale did not hesitate,” Evans said. “He shocked us by agreeing to donate the cough assist and the two BiPAP Auto machines.”

Evans pledged to donate any other equipment the twins might need and his time.

“I’ve known Ron a long time,” Joyce said. “He called me and said, ‘This family is in dire straights.’ I said, ‘Okay. What do we need to do?’”

Evans summed it up this way: “It’s part of why my wife and I felt we needed to start our own company. It’s nice when you can do this.”