GERMANTOWN, Md., Nov. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The HealthWell Foundation®, an independent non-profit that provides a financial lifeline for inadequately insured Americans, has opened a new fund to provide copayment and premium assistance to patients living with hyperoxaluria. Through the fund, HealthWell will provide up to $8,000 in financial assistance for a 12-month grant period to eligible patients who have annual household incomes up to 500 percent of the federal poverty level.
According to the Oxalosis and Hyperoxaluria Foundation, hyperoxaluria occurs when a person’s urine contains too much oxalate, a natural chemical in the body which is also found in certain types of food. High levels of oxalate are toxic because oxalate cannot be broken down by the human body and accumulates in the kidneys. Hyperoxaluria can be caused by a genetic disorder, eating too many oxalate-rich foods or an intestinal disease.
There are two forms of hyperoxaluria:
- Primary hyperoxaluria (PH) is a family of ultra-rare, life-threatening genetic disorders that cause complications in the kidneys. There are 3 types of PH: type 1 (PH1), type 2 (PH2), and type 3 (PH3), each resulting from a mutation in one of three different genes. These genetic mutations all cause enzyme deficiencies that cause the overproduction of oxalate.
- Enteric hyperoxaluria (EH) is a common occurrence in the setting of fat malabsorption, usually due to intestinal resection or intestinal bypass surgery. Enhanced intestinal absorption of dietary oxalate leads to elevated oxalate excretion.
Abnormal production and accumulation of oxalate can lead to recurrent kidney stones, nephrocalcinosis and chronic kidney disease. Over time, the buildup of oxalate in the kidneys can lead to kidney failure. As kidney function worsens, the kidneys are no longer able to eliminate oxalate and oxalate crystals form throughout the body. The damage happens at different rates in different people and it can be permanent, this is called oxalosis. The deposits can occur in multiple organs in the body, including the eyes, bones, skin and heart. In some cases, hyperoxaluria can result in the need for kidney transplantation or a dual liver-kidney transplant. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to the long-term health of the kidneys.
“Hyperoxaluria is a group of rare diseases that require life-long medical treatments. For many living with the disease, treatment options may be unattainable due to cost, which can ultimately lead to an irreversible, potentially life-threatening, situation for the patient,” said Kim Hollander, Executive Director, Oxalosis and Hyperoxaluria Foundation. “We are honored to partner with the HealthWell Foundation to spread the word about the new fund and to be able to share this critical financial resource with our community.”
“People living with hyperoxaluria can have painful, debilitating symptoms. Diagnosis and prompt treatment are critical factors for maintaining good kidney health and, for some, these treatments may represent a tremendous financial hardship,” said Krista Zodet, HealthWell Foundation President. “Thanks to the support of our donors, we are now able to offer a financial lifeline to people living with hyperoxaluria so they can access critical medical treatments to allow them to concentrate on managing their condition and not the cost of their care.”
To determine eligibility and apply for financial assistance, visit HealthWell’s Hyperoxaluria Fund page. To learn how you can support this or other HealthWell programs, visit HealthWellFoundation.org.
About the HealthWell Foundation
A nationally recognized, independent non-profit organization founded in 2003, the HealthWell Foundation has served as a safety net across over 70 disease areas for more than 500,000 underinsured patients. Since its inception, HealthWell has provided over $1.6 billion in grant support to access life-changing medical treatments patients otherwise would not be able to afford. HealthWell provides financial assistance to adults and children facing medical hardship resulting from gaps in their insurance that cause out-of-pocket medical expenses to escalate rapidly. HealthWell assists with the treatment-related cost-sharing obligations of these patients. HealthWell ranked 33rd on the 2019 Forbes list of the 100 Largest U.S. Charities and was recognized for its 100 percent fundraising efficiency. For more information, visit www.HealthWellFoundation.org.
About the Oxalosis and Hyperoxaluria Foundation (OHF)
OHF is an international trusted leader to patients, researchers, physicians and care-partners around the globe. OHF puts patients first, tackling the overall challenge of getting better treatments to waiting patients by serving as a critical catalyst in the patient, research and medical communities. Since its inception, OHF has had one urgent goal in mind: discovering a cure to end hyperoxaluria forever. Research is the driving force behind OHF’s mission because research provides hope to the thousands of people living with the effects of hyperoxaluria. OHF-funded research has led to groundbreaking discoveries that have unlocked the secrets of hyperoxaluria disorders — providing hope, energizing science, and helping provide better outcomes for patients around the world. To learn more, visit www.ohf.org.
SOURCE HealthWell Foundation