Personality: Dana A. Kuhn
Spotlight on founder of nonprofit that helps ill afford medications
3/5/2015, 5:55 a.m.
Dr. Dana A. Kuhn understands the terrible toll expensive chronic illnesses can take on families and their loved ones.
“While providing counseling for families, I observed their emotional, psychological and financial struggles,” the Midlothian resident says. “One family I counseled was forced to live off of one income because one parent had to become their child’s primary caretaker.
“They had to sell their home and eventually divorced so their child, whose condition continued to worsen, could qualify for health care under Medicaid. Not only did they lose their child, they were financially ruined. No family should experience that.”
That’s the reason the licensed clinical psychologist says he founded Patient Services Inc. in 1989.
“I realized that if families could afford their health insurance premiums and copayments, then more than likely they would stay financially stable. A financial safety net was needed.”
Dr. Kuhn says his Brandermill-based nonprofit of 60 employees works with physicians, clinics, patient advocacy organizations and patient assistance programs to identify populations that are struggling to afford health insurance premiums and copayments.
His organization helps patients and their families “navigate through the challenges of living with these chronic illnesses,” Dr. Kuhn states. “Our data show that patients only need PSI’s help from one to two years to remain financially stable and not be plummeted into financial devastation.”
He says there is a higher demand for PSI’s services since the Affordable Care Act was implemented in January 2014.
“Even with a policy available and with a subsidy, the costs are still unaffordable for the populations we help with expensive chronic conditions,” he states. “In Virginia, during the open enrollment period from October through the end of February, we’re getting around 200 patients to ask us to help them to afford these premiums.
“The average annual income of the patients coming to us for help with these plans is approximately $39,000, the average age is 40, the average annual premiums are $5,000 and the average coinsurance is $6,000,” Dr. Kuhn adds. “How can a person afford 28 percent of their income on the marketplace plans? The ACA creates access to health policies and creates a need for PSI to help subsidize the cost.”
Dr. Kuhn says PSI funds its life-saving efforts through private donations and some public funding. The organization’s latest filings with the IRS show that it spent $60.9 million in 2013 providing assistance to 18,452 people across the country and referral and education services to 3,360 others.
Patients with chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis may be eligible if they do not qualify for Medicaid and meet insurance and financial criteria, he says.
Details are available at www.patientservicesinc.org.
Year and place of birth: March 1953 in Mineola, N.Y.
Current residence: Woodlake in Midlothian.
Alma maters: Columbia International University, bachelor’s degree; Memphis Theological Seminary, master’s in divinity; Emory University and Christian Bible Seminary, Ph.D. in psychology/clinical counseling.
Family: Wife; Jan, a nurse, who is program manager of the Central Virginia Center for Coagulation Disorder’s Virginia Bleeding Disorders Program.