CAROLINA — Carolina’s blogger is about to get an infusion of cash from a state that’s paying her to help with her treatment of her cancer.
Carolina State Senate President Phil Berger has awarded $10 for every word of one of Carolinas first-time cancer patients, a stipend she got last year from a grant program administered by the state.
That’s about the same amount as the state pays for an inpatient stay at a state-run cancer center, and about what the average cost of cancer treatments would be in the Carolinas, according to data compiled by the Center for Effective Public Finance.
Carolinas health department estimates the $10 stipend is a good investment, given the low-paying job market in the state, where unemployment is about 10.6%.
The stipend was approved by the Senate committee on health and human services, which also approved a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.
The state has set a target of $15 per hour.
The new stipend will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2021.
The new stipends are part of a program designed to help patients stay healthy through their treatments.
It’s the first time that state funds have been used to help someone with cancer pay for their treatment.
In addition to paying for the stipend, Carstens office will provide cancer patients with free access to health services, such as physical therapy, prescription medications, dental work and cancer screenings.
Carstens health department does not track how many of the stipends have been handed out.
In addition to the stipender, the state will provide a $25,000 grant to the Carolinians First Choice Foundation to help pay for additional costs.
That foundation was founded by Laura Smith, who lost her husband, Stephen, to brain cancer in 2016.
Smith said she was excited to help Carstans first-counselor, Amy Hahn, get started in her treatment.
Hahn is a cancer survivor and was one of the first Carstents to receive a grant, said Carolinas health and community affairs department spokesman Steve Smith.
“She’s been through so much in this state, she has an incredible understanding of what’s going on, what the challenges are,” Smith said.
Caroleans first choice foundation has been helping cancer patients pay for the treatments since 2014.
The foundation has given out $1.2 million in grants to help support its mission.
“We’re a cancer care network,” said Carrie Fagan, president and CEO of Caroleans First Choice, which is part of the Carstensen family foundation.
“We’ve been working with the cancer community for years, and now, through our support, we can make this even bigger and better.”
Hahn has been a Carstenser since 2011, according the foundation’s website.
Carolyn Carstenson is a member of the Associated Press Health Care Team.