Patient Advocate Foundation reaffirms its commitment to providing patients with transportation assistance by announcing a new grant for those diagnosed with a rare form of skin cancer, Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). The fund will join PAF’s existing suite of financial assistance programs.

In 2016, Patient Advocate Foundation data revealed that 28.83% of patients assisted by their case management department reported debt crisis issues, and the inability to afford transportation expenses associated with their care was the number one issue reported in that category, at 17.03%. The Department of Health and Human Services states that “Chronic disease care requires clinician visits, medication access, and changes to treatment plans in order to provide evidence-based care. However, without transportation, delays in clinical interventions result. Such delays in care may lead to a lack of appropriate medical treatment, chronic disease exacerbations or unmet health care needs, which can accumulate and worsen health outcomes [1, 2]”. The patient experiences witnessed and documented by PAF’s professional case management staff further supports these observations and serves as the catalyst for our organization’s commitment to providing direct, financial support programs for patients in need of transportation help.

According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer in the United States, but Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is rare, with just 1,500 cases of MCC being diagnosed in the United States each year. More than 90% of people diagnosed with MCC are over age 50 and two out of three are over age 70. Three types of standard treatment are used with MCC including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. As a result of this multi-faceted care approach, transportation to and from medical appointments and multiple facilities is a necessity for this patient population.

Patient Advocate Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to the provision of individualized case management support, removing roadblocks to care for patients with chronic and life-threatening diseases, opens the Merkel Cell Carcinoma Financial Aid Fund to help ensure that patients can access the treatment they need when they need it. The program launches on April 3, 2017 and will begin accepting applications immediately. Qualified MCC patients who are currently in treatment, are scheduled to begin treatment in the next 60 days or have been in treatment within the past 6 months are encouraged to apply. Patients with a household income under 400% of Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) will receive a one-time award of $450.00 to be used for any and all transportation expenses related to their diagnosis.

The application process is simple and PAF staff members assist applicants throughout the process. Those interested in applying for the Merkel Cell Carcinoma Financial Aid Fund may call 855-824-7941 Monday-Thursday 8:30 am-5:00 pm ET and Friday 8:30 am-4:00 pm ET. Details for this fund can also be found at

“We are pleased to be able to offer this critical transportation support through the launch of the Merkel Cell Carcinoma Financial Aid Fund. Getting to a medical facility or a pharmacy should not be one of the barriers that these patients face. PAF is dedicated to doing everything we can to ease access burdens and support those who are battling disease,” Beth Moore, Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications for Patient Advocate Foundation says.

1. Chronic diseases and health promotion. 2012 Retrieved May 15, 2012, from