In today’s challenging health care environment, Charitable Patient Assistance Programs (Charitable PAPs) have emerged to meet the needs of the nearly 30 million Americans who are underinsured and have difficulty paying out-of-pocket medical costs. As potential donors make strategic decisions to invest in Charitable PAPs, there are many elements which must be considered to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. For the previous alerts in the series, please refer here.

There are many examples of successful Charitable PAPs, however, one important indicator of their dedication to the patients they serve is their fund design. Thus, when considering donations to a Charitable PAP, it is important to assess their ability to manage funds that maximize the scope of assistance available to eligible patients.

  • How are the Charitable PAP’s funds defined? Is the fund too specific to exclude key therapies or treatments? In some rare instances, a single drug therapy may be available to treat a disease. However, where several drugs are available to treat a disease, the fund would ideally offer as many treatment options as possible.
  • Does the Charitable PAP manage non-disease funds? Patients often need assistance for cost areas outside of specific treatments. Noting the ability of the Charitable PAP to offer non-disease specific funds can offer perspective into the organization’s mission and focus on patients.