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2002-04-24

A Legal Aid Attorney Is Dying of Multiple Myeloma. Cigna Insurance Has Denied Him a Bone Marrow Transplant, Calling the Procedure Experimental

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Two years ago, Thomas Concannon was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare form of cancer. Multiple myeloma is extremely difficult to cure, but in recent years, bone marrow transplants have proven increasingly effective in treating the disease. If Thomas gets a bone marrow transplant from his sister, his doctor says he has a 60 percent chance of survival. But this weekend, his insurance company, Cigna, refused to pay for the procedure. Cigna is one of the nation’s largest private health insurers, worth more than $91 billion. In 2001, it brought in more than $19 billion in revenue. But last Friday, as Thomas Concannon lay on the operating table, Cigna told his doctors the insurance company would not cover the bone marrow transplant.

We got this story very late. We left messages for the head of Cigna, but were told this morning that the company would not be able to comment on today’s program. They said they were not familiar with Thomas Concannon’s case and needed more time to prepare a response. However, we did manage to reach Dr. Kenneth Miller, Thomas Concannon’s doctor, last night. I asked him why he believes Thomas needs the operation Cigna has denied him.

Tape:

  • Dr Kenneth Miller, cancer patient’s doctor. He is Professor of Medicine at Tufts University and Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant unit at the Tufts-New England Medical Center.
  • clips from the film "John Q".

Guests:

  • Thomas Concannon, head of the federal defenders of the eastern district of the Legal Aid Society, dying of multiple myeloma.
  • Jan Mardfin, wife of cancer patient.
  • Elisabeth Benjamin, supervising attorney in the health law unit of the Legal Aid Society.

To Help Save Thomas Concannon’s Life, Please Contact:

  • Janet Maurer, Medical Director of Lifesource at CIGNA HealthCare.
    Phone: 860 226 7560
    E-Mail: janet.maurer@cigna.com.
  • Island Peer Review (independent reviewer organization)
    PHONE: 516-326-7767
  • Wendell Potter, Assistant Vice President and Corporate Spokesperson for CIGNA Corporate Communications
    PHONE: 215-761-4450
    E-Mail: Wendell.potter@cigna.com

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