While we commiserate with the author over the horrible crisis in medical insurance affecting our community, the author is mistaken in several regards.
First, the Vail Valley Charitable Funds give preference to serious medical conditions. The vast majority of the more than 60 families to whom we have given grants have conditions such as cancer, brain injury, spinal cord injury or AIDS. Second, the fund gives preference to people who not only have shown responsibility in securing medical insurance for themselves and for their family, but also gives priority to people in the community who have contributed to the well-being of the community themselves. Our focus is, by far, upon the established community rather than upon transients who pass through for a ski season or two.
It is a sad reality that even responsible people, when they are faced with medical crises, have expenses which slip through the cracks of their medical insurance coverage, have large deductibles, and because of the costs of medical insurance simply cannot afford to secure adequate insurance. Sometimes people with serious illness face such grave circumstances that their medical bills exceed the limits of their policies. In this day and age of high-tech medical procedures, it is unfortunately not at all unusual with a life-threatening illness to exceed $1 million or even $2 million of coverage. These are primarily the people we help.
We help, too, those people who although they have medical insurance are, owing to their illness, out of work and in rehabilitation. Medical insurance does not pay for lost wages. Mortgages still need to be paid, children clothed and fed, utilities provided. These are the people we help and the purposes for which our grants apply.
We help as well in assisting people who are gravely ill to secure alternative therapies or therapies for which medical insurance coverage does not apply. Recently, we gave a grant to a brain-injured child who had shown remarkable improvement after receiving hyperbaric oxygen treatments (at a cost of more that $7,000) for which medical reimbursement did not apply.
As a board, we have discussed at great length how we can help with the medical insurance crises and have determined to lobby our state legislators, and to do what we can to educate the public about the necessity and subtleties of medical coverage. We advocate that people obtain major medical coverage because the alternative can be financially devastating and emotionally wrenching.
The Tipsline caller must bear in mind too that many of the workers who drive the financial engine of this community cannot afford to eat, provide for their children, put a roof over their heads and pay for medical insurance beyond the most rudimentary kind, if at all. These are the people we assist.
The Vail Valley Charitable Fund is a safety net. We are not mollycoddlers. Rather we are realists; the system has grievous faults. To the degree we can, we try to fill them with both aid and compassion.
I invite the Tipsline caller to call me if he or she would like to further discuss what we do and how we help. I would also welcome him or her to attend our next board meeting to see for himself or herself precisely what we do.
Please support the Vail Valley Charitable Fund. There but for the grace of God go you.