Provider fills void

Thursday, May 31, 2007

At the groundbreaking for an oncology center two years ago, Tom Hanchar listened as center officials promised not to turn away people lacking financial resources for treatment.
"It struck a nerve with me," said Hanchar, president and CEO of Thomas International." "I said, 'Let's put together a nonprofit to provide medical equipment for people who can't afford it."
The Brenda Hanchar Foundation, named for Hanchar's wife, who died of cancer several years ago, was established last August. Originally envisioned as providing HME and supplies to patients, the foundation is expanding its mission to include prescription drugs, said Executive Director Cathy Edwards.
"The drug (need) is larger than we anticipated," said Edwards. "About 70% of hospital discharges (require) prescription medications."
The foundation will work with hospitals, local medical professionals and health and human services department to identify people in need. Edwards is also meeting with the local United Way chapter to partner with other nonprofits to provide HME to patients. Offices will be housed in the medical park Hanchar is building (See story page 21).
The foundation is currently developing its financial guidelines and ramping up fundraising, seeking private donations and holding events. Eventually, it will seek grant funding. The foundation will sanitize and refurbish equipment--both new and donated.
Locally, about 10% of people discharged from the hospital have a financial need, and 30%--about 150 to 200 patients each month--of the population lacks insurance, said Edwards.
"Those are the people we want to address," said Edwards. "I want to help the people who need help."
Patients must have a prescription. Edwards will work with the patient to navigate insurance--if they have it--and finances to ascertain whether the patient qualifies.