Our Mission & History

Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) is a national 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization which provides professional case management services to Americans with chronic, life threatening and debilitating illnesses.

PAF case managers serve as active liaisons between the patient and their insurer, employer and/or creditors to resolve insurance, job retention and/or debt crisis matters as they relate to their diagnosis also assisted by doctors and healthcare attorneys.

Patient Advocate Foundation seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability.

Our History

Nancy Davenport-Ennis, Founder of Patient Advocate Foundation personally became involved in legislative reform on behalf of cancer patients while a dear friend of hers, Cheryl Grimmel, was battling breast cancer and her insurance company. As Cheryl valiantly fought her fight, Nancy volunteered with the Virginia Task Force for Insurance Reform by sharing the previously underrepresented patient’s perspective and fought to reform insurance coverage for cancer patients. Victory for the task force came with the passage of Virginia House Bill 240 sponsored by Delegate Mary Christian in 1994.

Cheryl lost her battle with breast cancer in December 1994, and on the night of her funeral, as the rest of the world was ringing in the New Year, Nancy and Jack Ennis wrote business plans for two complementary nonprofit organizations geared towards solving the issues faced by patients like their friend Cheryl. National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) and Patient Advocate Foundation were born in concept that night and became a reality shortly thereafter.

Cheryl's strength in the face of her battle serves as an inspiration to those at Patient Advocate Foundation as they work and interact with patients in need. Our case managers advocate and mediate on behalf of patients to provide avenues of access for evolving therapies, therapeutic agents and devices deemed medically efficacious by the medical and scientific communities while working to find sources of reimbursement to pay for care.

Our case managers advocate and mediate on behalf of patients to provide avenues of access for evolving therapies, therapeutic agents and devices deemed medically efficacious by the medical and scientific communities while working to find sources of reimbursement to pay for care.

In the summer of 2013, after founding and leading PAF and NPAF for more than 17 years, Nancy Davenport-Ennis stepped away from the day-to-day management of both organizations, remaining as Chair Emerita. In July 2013. Ph.D. Alan Balch was named Chief Executive Officer, and is responsible for the operation and leadership of both PAF and NPAF.

Today, Both NPAF and PAF are national leaders on the forefront of important issues within patient-focused healthcare and serve as the voice of patients in need. At the helm are an Executive Board, Scientific Committee, and Honorary Board, all made possible by support from our Partners in Progress and generous community donors.

Celebrating our 20th year in 2016

In its first year of operation working from a small 10 ft. by 10 ft. office, Founder Nancy Davenport-Ennis and a part-time, volunteer staff provided case  management assistance to 157 patients faced with barriers accessing their prescribed care.  Fast-forward to 2017, and PAF helped a cumulative total of 1 million patients located throughout all 50 states with support provided by a staff of nearly 200 professionals.

Consistent throughout its 20 year history, the single mission of PAF is to help one patient at a time by providing highly skilled case management service to resolve problems related to their ability to access care and overcome financial hurdles during the most vulnerable times of illness. NPAF was created as a sister organization to expand the scale of PAF's impact to millions by advocating at the state and federal levels for solutions to common patient problems surrounding healthcare access and affordability.

Over its twenty year history, NPAF influenced major health policy decisions, helping to establish a ban on lifetime benefit limits and pre-existing condition exclusions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and has been heavily engaged in trying to pass the Medical Debt Relief Act.

Today, CEO Alan Balch leads the effort to celebrate PAF and NPAF’s twenty years of service by documenting important milestones in our history while also focusing on the key initiatives that will define the next twenty years of the organizations.

PAF Milestones


April 2016 marks 20 years of serving patients Hosts 15th Annual Promise of Hope Affair event & 16th annual Patient Congress Event Completed nearly 81,000 patient cases totaling over 820,000 closed cases since inception PAF’s annual budget exceeds $75 million


PAF’s Co-Pay Relief celebrates 10 years of operations, having assisted over 126,000 patients, allocating over $200 million in assistance


Awarded first Case in Point Platinum Awards for Case Management Founder, Nancy Davenport-Ennis celebrates her retirement after 17+ years of dedicated service to PAF


First year PAF earned Charity Navigator's 4-star "exceptional" rating PAF moves to new, larger headquarters location in Hampton, Va


PAF launches first program within its Financial Aid Fund Division PAF launches first program within its MedCare Line Division

Milestones (cont.)


PAF launches the Co-Pay Relief Division


PAF holds first annual Promise of Hope fundraising gala event


PAF gains national attention for patient services First Patient Congress advocacy event in Washington DC


National Financial Resource Guide, first edition published


Relocated to new office space in the Newport News, VA with four full-time employees


PAF first full-length patient-focused publication Launch of public website patientadvocate.org


Opened in April 1996 During our first year, volunteer case managers assisted 157 patients in a 10x10-foot warehouse space office By the end of the year, PAF had fundraised just over $100K in organizational revenue to operate