Columbia resident Barry Ford, a dialysis patient, has sent a letter to state lawmakers urging them to reconsider cuts to the Pennsylvania Chronic Renal Disease Program, which he depends on. The letter is reprinted here with permission:
Governor Tom Wolf
Office of the Governor
508 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA, 17120
Senator Ryan Aument
301 East Main Street
Lititz, PA, 17543
Representative Dave Hickernell
236 Locust Street
Columbia, PA, 17512
I have been on kidney dialysis since May of 2016 and was recently enrolled in the Pennsylvania Chronic Renal Disease Program, which assists patients like myself with the costs of my treatments and disease.
The CRDP helps pay for my medication, transportation such as public transportation, shared ride, non emergency ambulance, Medicare Part D premium coverage and the overall cost of my dialysis.
This week, I was informed that there are major and even drastic cuts to this program in the 2017-18 budget by Governor Tom Wolf. The current budget for the program is $7.9 million, with the proposed cuts of 85 percent, the new budget figure is $1.3 million.
This cannot happen for people like myself and thousands of others in Pennsylvania who have kidney issues and are on dialysis and looking forward to a future transplant.
We, I, need this program to remain healthy. Without it or any cuts in the program, I, we, may not be able to afford the cost of medication needed to fight this disease or the treatments needed and even a transplant.
It is critical that this vital program be retained and fully funded as I want to live a long time and fight this disease to the best of my ability. Without it, I will be unable to continue that fight or afford what lies ahead of me.
I appreciate your service to the residents of this great state and would hope this valuable program isn't cut and remains funded to the maximum. It is a very important program to not only people like myself but our families and friends as well.
Look forward to hearing from you about my concerns.