Thursday, April 12, 2012

An Appeal to the Membership

In last weeks post regarding the IA/AMPTP negotiations, a commenter noted the recent health struggles of TAG member Nicholas Hoppe. We've since been contacted by those close to Nicholas and his family who asked that we share the following message with the membership and readers of this blog:

Hello Fellow Animators and Artists,

Nicholas Hoppe is a TAG member and currently an employee at Dreamworks. He has been with DWA since 2007 and has contributed to many features there, including "Kung Fu Panda," "Kung Fu Panda 2," "How to Train your Dragon" and "Megamind." He has worked in visual effects for approximately 20 years, including stints at Disney, Digital Domain, House of Moves and Square, LA.

Approximately three weeks ago, Nicholas wasn't quite feeling himself and colleagues encouraged him to see DWA's on-site doctor, Dr. Kim, who sent him to the ER. He was checked into St. Joseph's after a CT scan uncovered a brain tumor. A biopsy performed a few days later found cancer--lesions, including a deadly Glioblastoma Grade 4. After receiving a bleak prognosis, Nicholas's family sought a second opinion. They decided to go out-of-network to the renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Keith L. Black at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Black performed a successful neurosurgery on Nicholas on March 30. Nicholas's prognosis is dramatically better, though he has suffered complications since then. Overall the family is happy with Dr. Black, however, the surgery itself was not covered by their insurance.

Nicholas's family has put together a website to request donations to help offset the cost of surgery. If you can donate and/or help us spread the word, all assistance is greatly appreciated! Together we hope to help Nicholas and his family overcome the financial strain of this life-saving surgery.

Thank you for all you do.
The Hoppe Family and Friends

While we understand the Hoppe family made the difficult decision to use an out-of-network physician for Nicholas' treatment, we are happy the decision resulted in a successful surgery and that he is now recuperating at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. We encourage everyone to visit the website the family has set up and keep Nicholas in your thoughts and prayers.


Anonymous said...

Steven, thanks for posting this. I'm very glad the surgery was a success, and wish Nicholas a speedy recovery.

"Overall the family is happy with Dr. Black, however, the surgery itself was not covered by their insurance."

"the surgery itself was not covered by their insurance"??

Does this mean that the MPIPHP isn't going to honor covering out-of-network surgeries at 70% (of fee schedule)? I understand that in-network surgeries are covered at 20% more, but is the MPIPHP covering the out-of-network surgery at 0% in this case?

If so, that would be very disappointing.

Steven Kaplan said...

That is not my understanding of the situation. MPI will cover their share, but Doctor Black is apparently one of the most exceptional in this field. Its my understanding that his costs reflect is outstanding abilities and even after MPI's share is paid, there will be a substantial remaining balance.

I am still learning about this situation and will appeal to the membership and community again as I learn more.

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