Denied care? I went through it alone, but you don’t have to.

My Patient Rights > Denied care? I went through it alone, but you don’t have to.

Denied care? I went through it alone, but you don’t have to.

The Patient Advocate’s Chronicle
February 19, 2020
By: Liz Helms

Liz Helms is President and CEO of the California Chronic Care Coalition (CCCC), an alliance of nonprofit, social consumer and provider organizations united to improve the health of Californians with chronic conditions or diseases. She also co-founded the Chronic Care Policy Alliance (CCPA), working across state lines to ensure access to affordable, quality health care by giving states a broader voice. CCCC also launched the My Patient Rights online resource to help people who experience a range of barriers that may include denials to important procedures, barriers to prescription medicines, surprise billing issues and more to become their own best advocates. Ms. Helms authored: Healthcare Unhinged-the Making of an Advocate to share her personal journey into advocacy.

I’m used to the fight. More than 20 years ago, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness known as TMJ/TMD. Unfortunately, my insurance company didn’t see it as such and refused to cover my treatments. After going through medical bankruptcy just to access the treatments I desperately needed, I realized so many others must share a similar experience and I set out to ensure no one would have to go through the same  fight alone.

Since my diagnosis, I have been passionate about helping others navigate the confusing health care system. I have joined others in elevating stories that prove it’s time we fix this broken system and ensure it works for those it is intended to serve: patients. Much of this work has been done in partnership with individuals and organizations in the chronic disease community, such as The Patient Advocate’s Chronicle, especially in our home state of California to ensure the voices of patients with chronic diseases are heard in regard to implementation of prevention, wellness and coordination of care at the health policy level.

Sharing the stories of community members that are affected by chronic diseases and other patients that have experienced denials and or barriers to getting the care they need has been key. Recently, we’ve been boots-on-the-ground helping patients offer a glimpse into how they manage their diseases within a difficult-to-navigate health system. Speaking to individuals about their personal experiences helps me and other advocates understand what public policies can help various types of communities, because health care is not one-size-fits-all.

My personal journey into advocacy led me to the realization that no one should have to fight alone. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together and we must remember that many voices come together when one voice stands up.

Let’s do so – together – to help ensure no patient is left behind to fend for themselves.

For more information on Liz and the California Chronic Care Coalition, find them on Facebook or at their homepage (not just if you live in California).

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