Helping Hands Surgical Care

Nevada / June 21, 2012 / by The Team

Many people across the country are in need of surgery for health conditions such as hernias and gall bladder infections but they are uninsured and unable to afford to pay for the treatment themselves. Helping Hands Surgical Care (HHSC) was founded in Las Vegas in November of 2011 to give assistance to exactly those people without cost.

Dr Kevin Petersen is a board-certified general surgeon with 26 years of experience in private practice. His business, called No Insurance Surgery, caters to those who have no insurance but are able to pay for their own surgery.

Through this work, however, Dr Petersen explains that he “was seeing more and more patients every year that needed surgery, didn’t have insurance, couldn’t pay for it, didn’t have the credit to be able to borrow money to pay for it.” 

This increased number of patients who needed help “really bothered” him so he and his wife, Kelly, decided to start a non-profit side to their business - one that would help exactly those people Dr Petersen was seeing in his surgery. 

HHSC was created by the Petersens “to help to provide medically necessary surgery to patients who are uninsured, are uninsurable, and did not qualify for any kind of government programs, and desperately needed surgery,” explains Dr Petersen. 

Surgery is expensive. In fact, as Dr Petersen says, “if you just pick up a telephone and call a hospital and ask them what do they charge, they’ll tell you something in the range of 10 to 20 thousand dollars for the facility alone.” 

Dr Petersen explains that “you have to get a surgeon, then you have to get an anesthesiologist and then you have to figure out how you’re going to pay the laboratory.” And the list goes on. 

For a patient who comes to HHSC, however, their surgery is entirely free. While the costs are still present, it is the organization that provides the funds for all the aspects of the surgery to ensure that the patient does not need to pay anything. 

A thorough background check is carried out during the application stages of the process. A medical advisory board reviews the cases and Kelly Petersen ensures that the patient does indeed have no insurance. They also check that they are unable to take advantage of Medicare and Medicaid. There are often patients who are unaware of the services that are already available to them.

To ensure they reduce the costs as much as they can, HHSC often negotiates discounts.  The surgeons and anesthesiologists donate their time, all with the aim of cutting the cost as much as possible. Dr Petersen himself performs the surgeries free of charge and will step in if they are unable to find another surgeon to fit in with the schedule. 

There is no shortage of doctors who wish to donate their time and services. Kelly Petersen explains that this means “all we really need are money to pay the hard costs and those are medicine, EKGs, facility fees, and even though it’s greatly reduced and greatly discounted, they’re still of course associated with that.”

With the non-profit being funded entirely on donations, it is important for them to be able to reduce their costs to be able to help as many patients as they can. The less they spend on one surgery, the more they can perform, and the more people they can help. 

Other than the financial aspects, HHSC helps a great deal in orchestrating the extremely complicated scheduling involved in organizing a surgery. With so many people involved, it takes a lot of time and work to find a time when all the parties are free to help, especially with so many of them donating their time.  

Dr Petersen explains that “one of the hardest things to do is to provide surgery as a charity because surgery requires a team and they have to be well organized, they have to all be credentialed and insured.”

The success they wanted for the organization when they started has most definitely become a reality. In the few months that the organization has been running, they have performed fourteen successful surgeries and have raised money for the next ten, which will be performed in the next two to three months.

While surgery will never be free, Helping Hands Surgical Care ensures that there is no or very little cost to their patients. Their role as a facilitator is exactly what the patients unable to pay for themselves need. Dr and Mrs Petersen are determined to make their organization grow and sustain itself, all in order to help patients who, with just a little time, will be back to full health and back to work. 

To find out more about Helping Hands Surgical Care, please visit their website and Facebook Page.