Patient Support Services Grow But Strain Cancer Centers’ Resources

Steven L. D'Amato, BSPharm, BCOP President and Executive Director New England Cancer Specialists Scarborough, Maine Association of Community Cancer CenteMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Steven L. D’Amato, BSPharm, BCOP
President and Executive Director
New England Cancer Specialists
Scarborough, Maine
Association of Community Cancer Centers

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The Trends in Cancer Programs annual survey, which began in 2009, provides key insight into nationwide developments in the business of cancer care. It’s a joint project between the Association of Community Cancer Centers and Lilly Oncology.  The goals of the survey are to:

  • Provide ACCC with information to help guide its education and advocacy mission
  • Assist member organizations to understand nationwide developments in the business of cancer care
  • Assist members in evaluating their own cancer program’s performance relative to similar organizations through a consistent and meaningful benchmark.

This year’s key findings show that patient-centered services – like nurse navigation, psychological counseling, survivorship care and palliative care – are continuing to grow in U.S. cancer programs. However, the biggest challenge facing cancer centers is reimbursement for these types of services. Additionally, mirroring what we are seeing in the industry in general, measurement is becoming more and more important. More cancer programs are now using quality metrics to show payers the value of care provided.

More information about our findings can be viewed here: http://www.accc-cancer.org/surveys/pdf/Trends-in-Cancer-Programs-2015.pdf.

Medical Research: What are the challenges facing today’s oncology providers? What effects do these challenges have on cancer patients?

Response: The challenges facing today’s oncology providers is developing and maintaining the infrastructure required to meet future quality and payment reform initiatives while maintaining economic viability with reduced reimbursement and the additional demands of quality program delivery.

Additionally, at a time when a patient should be focused on their treatment, more are focused on how they are going to pay for treatment. Patients benefit from supportive care services, such as navigators, social workers, and financial advocates and if these are not reimbursed, some cancer programs may have to cut these services.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We need future research to support reimbursement of services that improve outcomes and quality of life. Our survey found evidence that supportive care services such as navigation, survivorship and advocacy improve patient outcomes. 

Citation:

Trends in Cancer Programs 2015 survey

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Steven L. D’Amato, BSPharm (2015). Patient Support Services Grow But Strain Cancer Centers’ Resources