Last modified: September 27, 2021
The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource. Its Medical Outreach Department was created to assist those confronted with a mesothelioma diagnosis in obtaining the best care.
Medical Outreach Director Missy Miller and Medical Outreach Liaison Jose Ortiz travel across the country to personally meet with surgeons, oncologists, and researchers involved in the most current and emerging treatment options for mesothelioma.
Our outreach efforts helped us develop our Doctor Match program, which connects patients to doctors and cancer centers that specialize in mesothelioma treatment.
Partnering with our Medical Outreach program drives more patients to mesothelioma centers and increases exposure of mesothelioma experts.
Newly diagnosed mesothelioma patients are unsure of where to turn for specialized medical care, financial aid and emotional support. Our goal is to provide free access to information, services and support to patients and their loved ones through effective advocacy, which helps patients overcome the disease and live longer, healthier lives.
Our team is focused on the medical side of mesothelioma. We are patient-focused and strive to ensure each patient receives the best health care possible and access to top doctors.
We have established a professional, credible network and source of trust with many health care providers, which has allowed us to assist countless patients diagnosed with this illness.
Doing so helps highlight expert surgical oncologists, thoracic surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and the cancer centers that offer specialized mesothelioma care.
We also recognize the hard work and key roles support staff, such as nurse and patient navigators, nurses, social workers and many others, are proud to provide. We also help any other physicians and health care professionals who see mesothelioma patients and need any of our informational resources and support services.
Benefits of Medical Outreach Program
Miller and Ortiz find the best mesothelioma treatment centers, doctors and specific programs through research and our long-standing connections in the mesothelioma community.
We stay updated on the leading mesothelioma treatments by attending and exhibiting at symposiums and conferences such as the annual meetings of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group, American Society of Clinical Oncology, International Symposium on Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators, and American Thoracic Society.
In an effort to give patients more options, we are always open to meeting physicians who may not be featured on Asbestos.com and learning about their program and increasing their exposure.
We also strive to bring resources and support services and overcome barriers for any mesothelioma patient. Using our professional backgrounds, experience, and deep understanding of the disease, we strive to overcome barriers to treatment and access to resources.
Help with insurance appeals and connecting patients with transportation services, travel plans, financial assistance, patient assistance, copays and support groups are some of the examples of how we work with health care providers and their patients.
How the Program Benefits Mesothelioma Patients
Our program is patient driven, and every service we offer is provided free and patient specific. We aim to help patients navigate at any phase of their cancer journey.
- It starts with ensuring patients have an accurate diagnosis and finding them the right treatment.
- We match patients with doctors based on their diagnosis and location.
- If patients are willing to travel, we help them with travel plans, accessing transportation and securing lodging. Our hospital tours allow us to know the cancer center inside and out, so we can guide patients to the right place and reduce their stress.
- We also form relationships with nursing staff, coordinators, social workers, therapists, patient navigators and chaplains to ensure patients take full advantage of available resources.
- We learn about local resources, such as support groups and cancer organizations, and connect patients to services inside and outside the hospital to promote a holistic approach to cancer care.
- We are able to help match patients with doctors, but also help them with second opinions if needed, access to specialists and provide them with resources that will keep them with their current doctor and treatment.
In addition to booking appointments for patients, we also offer the following assistance and resources:
- Connecting patients with financial assistance, such as grants, Social Security and VA benefits, to pay for health care costs.
- Helping patients navigate insurance claims and understanding their coverage, so that billing won’t be an issue for the patient, doctor or hospital.
- Informing patients of available clinical trials, helping them understand the eligibility criteria and connecting them with the right location and contacts to join trials.
- Educating patients about the ins and outs of the hospital and guiding them to the best airports and transportation services to ensure their travel runs smoothly.
- Answering questions from patients and loved ones seven days a week, providing emotional support and connecting newly diagnosed patients with a mesothelioma mentor — a long-term survivor who offers support in a way no other can.
- Providing patients with a safe, over-the-phone monthly mesothelioma-specific online support group facilitated by a mental health counselor with more than 20 years of experience in cancer counseling.
We take pride in connecting patients with clinical trials and mesothelioma experts who may be able to help them outlive the average prognosis, so they can spend more time with their family and loved ones.
Our ambition is to unite the mesothelioma medical community in ways that help patients access the care they need to live longer and with a higher quality of life.
Miller’s Advocacy Secures Benefits for Mesothelioma Patients
In August 2021, the U.S. Social Security Administration added pericardial mesothelioma to its Compassionate Allowances program, which offers Social Security disability benefits to patients diagnosed with severe diseases. Other types of mesothelioma, including pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, were already included in the program.
Miller made an official request with the Social Security Administration to add pericardial mesothelioma to the Compassionate Allowances program after helping a 32-year-old woman diagnosed with the rare cancer.
The administration took about a year to conduct a comprehensive review with medical consultants and policy analysts before it added pericardial mesothelioma to the program.
“This is huge, a really big deal for these patients,” Miller said. “I’m humbled, and very excited, by what we’ve done. I was assisting a single patient in this case, but we’ve now helped patients everywhere.”
Thank you for your feedback. Would you like to speak with a Patient Advocate?