ACCC Launches Financial Advocacy Boot Camp To Help Patients Deal With Financial Consequences of Cancer Interview with:

ACCCMark S. Soberman, MD MBA FACS
President, Association of Community Cancer Centers
Medical Director, Oncology Service Line
Chief Physician Executive, Monocacy Health Partners
Frederick Regional Health System How will the online program prepare health care providers and patient advocates to help patients navigate the financial implications of cancer?

Response: The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) Financial Advocacy Boot Camp is a dynamic online curriculum.  The interactive learning modules are easy to navigate and contain helpful features to support learning, including quizzes and supplemental resources. Each module is less than a half-hour long, so participants can work at their own pace while accessing the on-demand courses 24-7.

The Financial Advocacy Boot Camp has 14 learning modules.

Topics include:

  1. Financial Advocacy Fundamentals. Review the basics of financial advocacy and gain an understanding of public and private health insurance coverage options.
  2. Enhancing Communication. Develop strategies to improve communication among the care team, engage patients on financial concerns, and find various distress screening tools.
  3. Improving Insurance Coverage. Learn how to help cancer patients get better health insurance coverage to reduce the out-of-pocket burden and tap into resources to reduce financial toxicity.
  4. Maximizing External Assistance. Delve into external assistance programs and other sources of assistance available for patients with public health insurance, private insurance, or no insurance.
  5. Improving Financial Advocacy Services. Learn to track cost savings for patients and your facility. Apply different tracking methods and reporting tools to evaluate your financial advocacy program and identify opportunities for continuous improvement.

Mark S. Soberman, MD MBA FACS President, Association of Community Cancer Centers Medical Director, Oncology Service Line  Chief Physician Executive, Monocacy Health Partners Frederick Regional Health System

Dr. Soberman What should readers know about the Financial Advocacy Boot Camp?

 Response:  Financial advocates have become vital members of today’s cancer care team, playing a critical role in helping patients access treatment and understand the costs of care, and working to reduce the potential for financial toxicity as a side effect of cancer.

In recent years, cancer programs have been adding staff who are solely dedicated to financial advocacy.  There are very few resources available to help with training financial advocates or others who work with patients in shared decision-making to address their financial needs- including patient navigators, nurses, social workers, and others.  The Financial Advocacy Boot Camp provides tools for cancer care professionals to help patients and caregivers address the uncertainty and stress that comes with a cancer diagnosis. Do you have anything else you would like to add:

This is from a post on ACCC’s Buzz blog:  by Joseph Kim, MD, MPH, MBA

Playing an Active Role in the Care Team. Many financial advocates and financial counselors have formal training in social work or financial services, but some also come with a clinical background in nursing. At some programs, pharmacy technicians are also assuming the financial advocate role, focusing on finding assistance programs around oral oncolytic agents. Given that financial advocates and counselors often have diverse backgrounds, they can learn from one another and from members of the clinical care team. By playing an active role as a member of the cancer care team, financial advocates can help inform key decisions around the course of treatment and potentially improve the patient’s outcome around important psychosocial factors such as financial toxicity. In many cancer programs, financial advocates may not see themselves as integral members of the care team, but this culture is changing.  Today, more financial advocates are attending tumor boards and speaking with clinicians to offer insights and assistance.

Since cancer care is rapidly evolving, hospitals and other cancer programs in the community must be properly equipped to ensure that patients receive the appropriate guidance and assistance as they prepare to start their treatment journey. Navigating the financial decisions around health insurance coverage remains confusing and many patients need help finding and applying for assistance programs.

ACCC has had nearly 1,000 users access the Financial Advocacy Boot Camp resources since the program launched in mid-March, clearly indicating the necessity for these tools. Thank you for your contribution to the community.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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