February is Cholangiocarcinoma Awareness Month, a time to highlight the rare liver disease that affects 1-2 people in 100,000 per year. We are highly aware of cholangiocarcinoma due to our friend and investor Mike Shane who passed away last year after a strong fight against this disease. In his memory, we established the Mike Shane Memorial Fund to help patients who have this diagnosis overcome financial barriers to getting a needed remote second opinion. Part of this effort involves making it as easy as possible for patients to get their medical information, including medical images, to the physician to review for a second opinion.
Second opinions are, in the words of many within the healthcare industry, essential in the case of critical illness and a right of every patient. Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover or even require an in-person second opinion consultation with a specialist prior to treatment. Medicare even pays for a third opinion if the second opinion differs significantly from the first.