April 14, 2020 / All Stories

On the line during COVID-19: helping patients one call at a time

Making a difference in patients’ lives, Erica Shipley is on a mission to care.

Patient Assistance and Remarkable Impact

During this time of unprecedented crisis, when people face a life-threatening illness or a chronic disease, they should be able to focus on doing everything they can to improve their health. AbbVie, a global research-driven biopharmaceutical company, believes that, while people face many challenges during this difficult time, being able to get the medicine they need shouldn’t be one of them.

Erica Shipley is a patient assistance counselor for AbbVie’s myAbbVie Assist, a program that offers free AbbVie medicines to qualifying patients. It’s one of many ways AbbVie provides support to patients. “Ninety percent of my job every day is being on the phone with patients. I help them understand the process and make it as simple as possible because I know they have many other things on their mind.”

Over the past several weeks, Shipley has taken calls from patients concerned about the COVID-19 crisis. “Patients are losing their jobs and access to insurance, and they’re scared of how they will get the medication they need. Explaining our program and helping them understand our company is here to help in this uncertain time really matters to patients.”

Every individual has a unique situation or question, and the counselors are there to help. “I try and be a good listener and understand what each caller needs. You never know what type of question or situation might be behind the next call. I try to get them the right answer as quickly as possible because every minute matters for our patients.”

Sometimes, patients elaborate and describe what’s going on in their lives and how their disease or the current crisis is having an impact. Shipley says empathy is an important skill for her job, and sometimes the calls hit close to home. “I’m a mom of young kids, and when I talk to a mother trying to get her kids the medicine they need to make their lives better, I understand what they’re feeling. It’s quite powerful to be able to help them.”

Shipley has been a coordinator with the program for five years, helping hundreds of patients over that time. “Hearing the relief in their voices, being able to take away at least some of their worry, it’s an amazing feeling.” Every year, the program supports tens of thousands of U.S. patients, helping them receive medicine at no cost.

Shipley knows the importance of the work she does as the country continues to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. “It feels really good to work for a company that cares this much about patients. I love my job, and I love knowing that I’m helping patients live their lives again.”

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Mary Kathryn Steel
Email: mk.steel@abbvie.com
Call: +1 847-937-4111
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