Congress urged to support PACT Act

To the Editor:

As a mom of three, my worst fear is not being around to take care of my children. When I was diagnosed with a life-threatening blood cancer several years ago, I vowed to fight — and fight hard.

My doctors told me a cord blood transplant could potentially cure my cancer and save my life. But I didn’t know anyone who was a suitable donor. The more it seemed like time was running out, the more scared I felt.

Thankfully, the National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match (NMDP) program helped me find two heroes in Miami County who donated the blood stem cells that I needed to survive. With new hope, I made it my life’s mission to pay it forward by helping the 1.3 million Americans with blood cancer who need the same lifesaving procedures I did.

Unfortunately, due to current Medicare policies, senior patients are at a high risk of not being able to access treatment. Because of Medicare’s outdated coverage policy, hospitals are not adequately reimbursed for the full costs of performing cellular transplants. As a result, many hospitals cannot sustainably offer cellular transplants — even after the right donors are found. Lives are in the balance if this policy is left uncorrected.

To address this sad situation, I urge our Ohio delegation in Congress to joing Senator Brown and support the Protect Access to Cellular Transplant (PACT) Act (S. 1268/H.R. 2498), which would ensure that cellular transplants are sufficiently reimbursed by Medicare and access is expanded to patients in need. It is the right thing to do.

— Lisa Kendall-Maxson