CIGNA Insists Child Must Get Cancer Treatment in Pittsburgh Instead of Philadelphia
UPDATE: CIGNA changed its mind! His parents fought, and people shared. Thank you to CIGNA for doing the right thing!
A 14 year old boy, Anthony Salvino, is dealing with an absurd, outrageous situation. Anthony has cancer and is in the middle of his third treatment. Anthony lives outside Philadelphia and has been receiving treatment at CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.) He was supposed to begin a month-long transplant procedure on December 16th. According to Anthony’s family, that procedure has been delayed because CIGNA, the insurance company involved, informed them that the procedure must take place in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is 6 hours away from Anthony’s home. CHOP is 45 minutes away.
Treatment on Hold
This boy’s life saving procedure was to go forward in Philadelphia, when, according to the parents, all of a sudden CIGNA pulled financial support and insisted Anthony has to travel to Pittsburgh for the procedure to be covered. The doctors at CHOP are working with the parents to appeal CIGNA’s decision.
- If Anthony has to travel to Pittsburgh he will have to work with new doctors who don’t know his case and who he doesn’t know. This will cause him additional stress. Is stress good for someone trying to over come cancer?
- Anthony’s parents will somehow have to find a place to live, and still manage to work so they can pay their bills, and take care of their other son. This means they will have to trade off. They won’t both be able to be by their sick son’s side at his time of need.
- Everyone will be separated from Anthony’s extended family at a time when family support is what Anthony and his parents need.
Why does CIGNA want Anthony to travel to Pittsburgh? According to the family, CIGNA has a relationship with a hospital in Pittsburgh for the kind of procedure that Anthony needs. It does not have the same relationship with CHOP. As a result, Anthony’s family has said that the procedure would be cheaper in Pittsburgh than in Philadelphia.
I understand business and profit, I think we all do. But how about some common sense? It seems to me that it is much better for all involved if the doctors treating Anthony are the ones who have cared from him all along. The ones who know his case best. The ones who can make decisions with hands-on knowledge of Anthony’s medical history. The ones with whom Anthony is comfortable.
Ask yourself, how would you feel if this was your old child? A child who has been fighting cancer for most of his life. A child who is now experiencing a delay in crucial treatment. A child who might be sent far from home, where he knows no one.
What Can You Do?
How can you help? Post on CIGNA’s Facebook page. Tweet to @cigna with #fightforanthony. Call CIGNA at 1.800.997.1654. Let the company know what you think about forcing a 14 year old to travel 6 hours from home, away from all he knows, for medical treatment.
I understand the local news will be covering Anthony’s story today. Stay tuned for more details.