Meet the Host of the Healthcare Advocate Summit • Melissa Paige

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Melissa Paige

“We can’t expect others to design standards and build quality solutions if we are not willing to be involved“


This conference is meant to bring together what has been missing over the years: a place for Advocates to connect and obtain resources to help patients along their journey. I want to thank all of those individuals that understand the mission behind this conference, and those that have supported our efforts in this endeavor. My team and I have the confidence and skills to take this forward and execute an impactful, relevant, and valuable conference.

A series of events over the last eight years has led me to say, “I’m going to speak, run a consulting company, all while advocating for patients, and empowering others”.

I was a Pharmacy Technician entering into a new position under the “Patient Assistance” team at an extensive academic health system. I started a position where I didn’t understand the role, nor did I know what assistance was available to make sure patients received treatment.

In the first week of my new position, the anxiety set in; with stacks of paperwork, phones ringing and patients walking in trying to find a way to get on medication. My most significant setback was not knowing what I didn’t know. How do you triage paperwork for patients when everything is necessary? The relationships were built over time with with our field reimbursement manager from the manufacturer and key account managers from specialty pharmacies.

The light-bulb moment came once I understood which services were available for my Uninsured - Under-insured, Medicare and Commercial patients. Understanding the role that manufacturers, specialty pharmacies and technology solutions played in supplementing the work I was doing in my office, expedited solutions to the barriers I was facing. Cultivating relationships with our field reimbursement managers has allowed me to communicate expectations better, and understand the services they have available. Teams within the industry are spending countless hours to come up with marketing materials, and solutions that will be helpful to the offices and patients trying to get on therapy for each medication. It’s a lot to take in, but once you understand the fundamentals behind a few essential key concepts, your “Ah-hah” moment will come too.

I have had the opportunity to speak across the U.S., taking every patient story with me to tell on stage along with barriers and solutions that are missing to help us navigate our patients. This year was the highlight of my career, having the opportunity to speak in Amsterdam at the 2019 World Pharma Pricing & Market Access Congress and represent the U.S. on how we navigate patients to therapy. Consulting with Manufacturers, Solution Providers and Health Care Facilities soon followed from speaking engagements, and I was slowly hearing phrases like “subject matter expert,” “key opinion leader,” and even “thought leader.” These are phrases that have driven me to continue my journey in understanding and keeping up with the pathways of medications, and most importantly finding a way to connect and piece this all together.

The best thing we can do is develop meaningful and progressive teams that alleviate internal roadblocks (health care facilities specifically), learn to navigate the patient access landscape and always advocate for the patient

Those who are navigating the patients and finding solutions to help them obtain their medication and treatment have a role without a standard official title. What I haven’t found are the many others doing a role similar to mine. I found a handful of Advocates that I keep in touch with and bounce ideas off of, but I know there are more out there running into the same navigational barriers that we all face. What resources are available? How does one build a patient assistance program, and making sure we capture every patient as they come in through our doors?

What a rewarding feeling it is to knowing this Healthcare Advocate Summit is going to be bringing the largest group of Advocates to discuss Navigation Reimbursement and Access. It shouldn’t have to be this hard, and we are not alone in the struggles we face in our day to day roles. When you have the patient in front of you, all you want to do is to help alleviate any stress they have around access to treatment.

 The best thing we can do is develop meaningful and progressive teams that alleviate internal roadblocks (health care facilities specifically), learn to navigate patient access landscapes and always advocate for the patient. An advocate should take as much of the burden off of the patient and their family as possible, while still keeping them involved, educating them, and empowering them to advocate for themselves as well.

We can’t expect others to design standards and build quality solutions if we are not willing to be involved.  I hope you join us in the first Annual Healthcare Advocate Summit, bringing together:


Advocates - Healthcare Practice Leadership

Field Reimbursement - Foundations

Specialty Pharmacy - Technology Solutions - Industry

and Healthcare Facilities under one roof

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Speaking Engagements:


2020 March Amsterdam (Speaker)
Terrapinn World Pharma Pricing & Market Access & Evidence Congress

2019 November Barcelona (Speaker)
Terrapinn World Orphan Drug Congress Europe

2019 September San Francisco (Moderator)
CBI's 12th Hub & SPP Model Optimization

2019 August Richmond (Speaker)
Cancer Action Coalition of Virginia-Cancer Patient Navigator Network Quarterly Meeting (CEU)

2019 May Roanoke (Speaker)
Healthcare Financial Management Association

Mapping Patient Access in a Large Academic Facility

2019 May Philadelphia (Speaker, Moderator)
CBI Real-Time Benefits and ePrior Authorization

Examine the eBV and ePA Frameworks for the Future of the Medical Benefit

2019 May Las Vegas (Panel)
Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit

Healthwell: Streamlining Relationships between Charitable Foundations & Pharmacies to Maximize Patient Grant Usage

2019 March Amsterdam (Speaker)
Terrapinn World Pharma Pricing & Market Access

2019 March Baltimore (Speaker)
CBI 20th Annual Patient Assistance and Access Programs

Navigating Coverage for Medicare Patients

2019 February Austin (Speaker)
ExL 2nd Real-Time Benefit Verification and Electronic Prior Authorization Forum

2019 February Orlando (Advisory Panel)
HIMSS Covermymeds - Industry Trends for Price Transparency at the Point of Prescribing

2018 October San Francisco (Speaker)
CBI’s 11th West Coast Real-Time Benefit Check & ePrior Authorization Summit

2018 October Phoenix (Speaker)
CBI Value-Based Oncology Management

Structure Specialty Pharmacy Practices to Promote Collaboration With Providers, Patients and Manufacturers

2018 September Arlington (Panel)
CBI PAP Legal Update

Discuss the Patient’s Perspective on the Critical Challenges in Providing Effective Assistance

2018 August Richmond (Speaker)
Cancer Action Coalition of Virginia-Cancer Patient Navigator Network Quarterly Meeting (CEU)

-Patient Assistance/Co-Pay Assistance for the Oncology Patient

2018 August Dallas (Advisory Board)
Major Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Access & Reimbursement Service Advisory Board

2018 May Philadelphia (Advisory Panel, Speaker)
CBI Real-Time Benefit Check & ePrior Authorization Summit

Next-Generation Strategies for Improving Workflow Efficiency while Satisfying ePA Requirements

2018 March Baltimore
CBI 19th Annual Patient Assistance and Access Programs

Trends in Portal Creation to Streamline Patient Support

2018 January (Advisory Panel)
Pharmaceutical Manufacturer: National Field Reimbursement Conference

2018 January Philadelphia (Chair, Panel)
Exl Events-2018 Electronic Real-Time Benefit Check Authorization Forum

Payer Similarities and Differences of Pharmaceuticals Prior Authorization and Medical Prior Authorization

2017 November Bethesda (Chair, Speaker)
ExL Events - Value-Based Strategies for Optimizing Reimbursement and Formulary Success

Exploring day to day access barriers at various levels that impact the time from prescribed to on-therapy.

2017 June Chicago (Advisory Board)
Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Oncology Advisory Board Meeting

Access & Reimbursement service differences among sites of care-Unmet needs-Challenges for different Stakeholders within the Oncology Care Continuum-Best Practices and Optimal Utility for a Patient Access and Reimbursement Services Program

2017 April Las Vegas (Advisory Panel)
Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit

The Intersection of Specialty and Health System Pharmacy Management – Evolving Roles that Health Systems are playing as it relates to Optimizing Specialty Pharmacy Management required for Patients with Complex Medical Conditions

2017 April San Francisco (Speaker)
CBI Formulary, Co-Pay & Access Summit

Multi-Stakeholder Panel for Product Journey – Views from the Trenches -Navigating the Positives and Negatives of Co-Pay Programs
Buy and Bill, Physician Administered Specialty Drugs – Managing Complexities while Ensuring Compliance

2017 March Baltimore (Speaker)
CBI 18th Annual Patient Assistance and Access Programs

Assistance Program Benchmarking & Best Practices

2017 February San Francisco (Speaker)
CBI 10th Annual Oncology Commercialization & Market Access

Mapping the Product Journey – Successes and Lessons Learned from Multi-Stakeholder Collaborations

2017 January (Advisory Panel)
Pharmaceutical Manufacturer: Market Access & Patient Strategies Oncology Panel

2016 September Philadelphia (Keynote Speaker)
CBI Coupon and Co-Pay Offer Design Optimization

Streamline Co-Pay Adjudication at the Pharmacy – UVA’s Centralized Co-Pay Center

2016 May Baltimore (Speaker, Advisory Panel)
CBI Electronic Benefit Verification & Prior Authorization Summit

Case Study: Lessons Learned from the Health System Setting - Streamlining the PA Process to Facilitate Faster Patient Access
A Team-Based Approach to Streamlining the Prescriber Workflow — What Drives the Informational Needs of Other Groups

2016 February San Francisco (Advisory Panel)
CBI 9th Annual Oncology Commercialization & Market Access

Best Practices to Achieve Reimbursement and Access — Assess Cost and Value of Oncology Products

2015 March Baltimore (Advisory Panel)
CBI 16th Annual Patient Assistance & Access Programs (Speaker)

Evolving PAP Technology and Software for Improved Patient Communication — ePrescribing, eScripts, EMRs and More

2014 March Baltimore (Speaker, Advisory Panel)
CBI 15th Annual Patient Assistance & Access Programs

The Evolution of Electronic Medical Records, e-Prescribing & Technology for Patient Assistance
Resources: Tools & Best Practices for Advocates and Free Clinics