Insurer urged to cover girl’s surgery

first_imgGLENDALE – A protest is planned for today at the offices of CIGNA, as a teenage girl’s parents call on the insurance company to pay for a liver transplant for their daughter. Nataline Sarkisyan, 17, of Northridge is in the intensive care unit at UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, and her mother says she has been in a vegetative state for three weeks. Nataline will die without the transplant, said her mother, Hilda Sarkisyan. Nataline was diagnosed with leukemia at age 14, and after two years of treatment the cancer went into remission, Hilda said. But this summer it came back. “Cases such as this are not decided based on cost, but rather on the medical appropriateness of treatment,” the statement said. “There is an appeals process in place whereby physicians who are not with CIGNA review a case and provide another viewpoint on the appropriateness of treatment.” The Sarkisyans have filed an appeal with the California Department of Insurance, but the agency on Monday sent a letter saying it needs more information. Hilda said she is happy with the care her daughter has received at UCLA Medical Center since being admitted Nov. 12, suffering from jaundice because of her liver failure. But Hilda said her daughter has gotten worse and now has an inflammation in her lungs. “Now we went backward, and we have to wait for her lungs to clear, and I hope they clear, and I’m praying every minute and every day for her lungs to clear,” Hilda said. Shum Preston, spokesman for the California Nurses Association, said several dozen people are expected to protest today at the CIGNA offices – including nurses, Nataline’s family and members of the Armenian-American community. [email protected] 818-546-3304160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champWhen doctors said Nataline could use a bone-marrow transplant, the Sarkisyans discovered that her only sibling, Bedig, 21, was a match, and he donated his bone marrow the day before Thanksgiving. But Nataline developed a complication from the bone-marrow transplant and, because her liver was failing, doctors recommended a transplant, according to an appeal letter sent to CIGNA earlier this month. But doctors said in the letter that CIGNA denied the transplant, saying Nataline’s plan does not cover “experimental, investigational and unproven services.” The Philadelphia-based CIGNA said Wednesday that federal privacy law prevents it from confirming whether Nataline has insurance with the company. But, in an e-mail statement, the company said the Sarkisyans have options: last_img read more