340B Health

Faces of 340B

Richard Bey, San Bruno, CA

Richard was feeling unwell when he walked into the clinic in 2009. His red blood cell count was 3.0 (the normal range for men is 4.7 to 6.1) and he teetered on the verge of a coma. He was so sick he has no recollection of being rushed to the emergency room. The diagnosis? Iron deficient anemia. Richard was bleeding internally as San Mateo Medical Center doctors raced to find the cause. Richard also was uninsured and out of work due to a severe and unrelated sleep disorder. Doctors finally discovered the ulcers deep in Richard’s digestive tract; he needed three blood transfusions. “The hospital ended up saving my life,” he says. Richard also worked with his doctors to better address his sleep problems and is now in much better health. “The 340B program helped make my healthcare affordable,” he explains. “It took eight months for me to get my Social Security disability to come through. Through all that time all the hospital bills were being taken care of.” He receives discounts on his meds, which include Zolpodem for insomnia and Desipramine for nerve pain. Richard is thankful for his care at the hospital and doubly appreciative that he didn’t have to face $30,000 in medical bills at the end of his ordeal.