In 2011, a BCBSND service rep met a young family who had just received a rare, devasting diagnosis. It was clear, a vast medical maze would become their new normal.
The BCBSND team member asked herself “what extra help would I need if I were in this family’s position?” And from that question grew a new service group called Member Advocacy.
Member advocates lift some of the burden off families undergoing some extremely complex medical journeys. The team is small—just 8 team members—but their impact is great. Below are stories from some members they’ve served.
Meet Little Palmer Thompson. Baby brother... budding athlete... And HUGE Old McDonald fan... But before he was born, Palmer was diagnosed with Spina bifida. At Blue Cross Blue Shield, we noticed medical visits, surgeries and bills piling up. We called Mom and Dad and said we would take care of all of the paperwork, so they could concentrate on something more important.
Meet Palmer 10 years later. He’s no baby anymore! We reached out to see what he’s up to now. It turns out, he’s up to a lot. Re-meet this busy, inspirational young man.
Meet Luke and Ashley Champa, parents to two little girls. Their youngest had a congenital heart defect discovered in utero. It would require an out-of-town open-heart surgery immediately after birth. Their member advocate, Julie, helped them navigate many of the details so they could put their focus on their precious baby girls throughout her complex medical journey.
When Noah was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease (hemophagocytic lymphohystiocytosis, or HLH), his parents were scared yet relieved to get a diagnosis so they could move on to treatment. Their doctor advised the family to get a Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota member advocate to help navigate Noah's care and case. "That's some of the best advice we got," they say.
Their member advocate allowed them to concentrate on helping Noah get well. Today, their advocate continues to regularly call and check in with Terese and Steve, while Noah continues to thrive.
New to North Dakota and with a sudden leukemia diagnosis for their teenage son Zachariah, parents Bobby and April Deem faced a daunting healthcare situation. Their BCBSND member advocate was with them from the diagnosis through Zachariah's victory lap.
Anna Jo is a very well-traveled girl. She and her parents have visited dozens of states in their motor home. Anna Jo also happens to have an extremely rare disease (pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 6 [PCH6]) for which there is no cure.
When their son Chase was diagnosed with leukemia, Doug and Marcie Jones (Granville, ND) were grateful for access to quality care and specialists, plus guidance from their Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota Member Advocate.
When Cynthia was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was a surprise, in part because she had completed timely screenings. Yet, due to her dense breast tissue, the cancer was elusive. During her treatments, Cindy started journaling about her experiences, doctors, caregivers and other patients. That journal is now a book, "Boundless Blessings Through Grace: My Journey Through Breast Cancer." Cindy is grateful for the care and compassion from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, including listening, reassurance of coverage and finding answers to her questions. Cindy was also instrumental in a N.D. law requiring dense breast tissue notification and prompting BCBSND to cover 3D mammograms
Preventive screenings detected Nicole Rude’s cancer at 38. She expected complicated paperwork, sleepless nights worrying about bills. To her surprise, Blue Cross Blue Shield helped her stay focused on getting well. “I was expecting a battle,” she said, “instead, I got a partnership.”
Upon his diagnosis of leukemia, Evan Johnson's family was faced with a daunting health care situation. Their BCBSND member advocate was with them to help eliminate stress and frustration while Evan received the care he needed. Watch to learn Evan's story of becoming cancer-free.