Patient fights insurance over fungal meningitis treatment - WSMV Channel 4

Patient fights insurance over fungal meningitis treatment

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

If being diagnosed with a deadly infection wasn't devastating enough, one local man has discovered his insurance won't cover the life-saving treatment available.

Now, he is not only battling to survive fungal meningitis, but he is also battling red tape with his hospital and insurance company.

The best shot at survival for the hundreds of patients across the country who have contracted fungal meningitis after receiving a steroid injection of tainted medicine out of the New England Compounding Center is a specialized anti-fungal treatment.

That treatment can take months, can come with serious side effects and it is costly.

Nashville attorney Randy Kinnard represents 20 local families impacted by the fungal meningitis outbreak. He said he has never seen anything like it.

"This is the most extreme situation I have ever seen," said Kinnard.

It is especially extreme one client who finds himself at odds with his government insurance.

"We have a client who the hospital and the doctor have said, 'it's time for you to go home.' But they want him to go home with an IV in place, receiving anti-fungal medication. And the trap for this family is Medicare right now is refusing to pay for that home therapy," Kinnard said.

The medicine that could save the man's life could leave him with thousands of dollars in medical bills.

"They're facing thousands of dollars in bills, because this medicine is very expensive. And they don't know what to do right now. They're caught in a trap right now, and we're working with them trying to figure out how we can help them get the therapy without paying thousands of dollars for it," Kinnard said.

Channel 4 News attempted to contact a spokesperson for Medicare on Thursday about this story, but we were told they will not be able to get back with us for two business days.

Kinnard said, so far, his clients include three families of patients who have died from fungal meningitis as well as another patient who has been paralyzed and another who is very sick.

So far, Kinnard's firm has filed two lawsuits against the New England Compounding Center, which health experts believe produced the medication responsible for the nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak.

Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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