“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”Lao-tzu,
Lori Mills’ story is now mainstream and may affect millions of people in years to come. You may have seen her in the dictionary under “persistence” or next to the quote: “be the change you want to see in the world.” Certainly she is a very lucky woman. Or maybe it’s simpler than that. Maybe she is simply a mother and a wife who wants to live her life as best as she can without simultaneously carrying the burden of a debilitating illness.
Lori has chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy or CIDP and she was denied insurance coverage by Blue Cross Blue Shield in the Summer of 2014. One week ago, believe it or not, they reversed their decision. This is a huge victory for Lori in the battle with Blue Cross Blue Shield. This is also the first of many skirmishes in her war on CIDP and a minor victory for those that follow her. Here’s how it breaks down:
- Be excited for Lori as she now has a chance at a better life. She has defeated the one thing standing in her way of getting treated.
- Don’t expect insurance companies to start caving tomorrow as BCBS has already stated with conviction that this is not to be seen as a precedent.
- The treatment she is approved for is a clinical trial with exclusionary criteria, not from a treatment center so this is not available to the general public.
I reached out to Lori today and both she and her friends responded with grace and respect:
I’m following your story with great interest. I am a 10 year stem cell educator and while Blue Cross is clear in stating that this shouldn’t be considered precedent setting I just wanted to personally thank you for your hard work to get the doors open just a little bit more for those people who are suffering needlessly with conventional drug and treatment protocols which do not work for them. Kudos to you and yours! Wishing you the best,
We wish her great success and hope to do a follow up on her progress at the end of her trial.
I’d like to share something with you. Look at the image below. It jumped out at me.
A simple statement. “I’m a CIDP Fighter.”
We can all understand what it means to fight a single adversary.
With awareness and education we can learn what it means to fight an invisible neurological illness like CIDP.
And that should be enough. For anyone. But it isn’t.
Today’s patients seek answers, seek cures, seek stem cell therapies…
but they are not just fighting their conditions…
they often are simultaneously fighting the medical establishment, fighting insurance companies, fighting ignorance and fighting resistance.
It should not be this hard. We should do more to make it easier for patients to get the treatments they need. We must do more.
Blue Cross overturns decision, approves stem cell transplant coverage
GREENVILLE, Mich. — Lori Mills has been approved to receive a stem cell transplant under her Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage.
The insurance company has overturned its previous denial from the summer of 2014.
In a letter Mills received January 2, 2015, Blue Cross states the company will now pay for the potentially life-changing procedure.
“I know it’s going to be a shot at a whole new life for me,” Mills said today.
She added, “I know that because of our previous interview, it really helped get this approval letter because whenever I call they talk about it.”
She suffers from chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy or CIDP. Her immune system attacks her nervous system. She shakes, has numbness, and it impairs her movement.
Doctors told her a stem cell transplant could be the cure.
NONMYELOABLATIVE AUTOLOGOUS HEMATOPOIETIC STEM CELL TRANSPLANTATION FOR REFRACTORY CIDP
Haemopoietic stem cell transplantation—an evolving treatment for severe autoimmune and inflammatory diseases in rheumatology, neurology and gastroenterology
Autologous haemopoietic stem cell transplantation for autoimmune diseases