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Obama Administration Issues New Rounds Of Cancer Care Cuts Amidst Healthcare Reform Chaos
Date:12/18/2013

eneficiary annualized when chemotherapy is given in outpatient hospital facilities versus community cancer clinics, and each senior patient pays $650 more in out-of-pocket costs.
  • A recent study by The Moran Company reveals that Medicare cancer patients receive more chemotherapy treatments with more expensive chemotherapy drugs in hospitals compared to community oncology clinics, resulting in chemotherapy costs that are as much as 47% higher.
  • COA reported earlier this year that 469 community cancer clinics had merged into or affiliated with hospital systems and 288 cancer treatment facilities had actually closed over the past 6 years, especially in rural areas. This creates access problems when patients, particularly seniors, have to travel for cancer care.
  • As has been widely reported, the sequester cut to the underlying cost of cancer drugs has forced cancer clinics to send Medicare patients elsewhere for treatment or merge with large health systems.  This drives up costs to Medicare and patients — the exact opposite intent of sequestration. The budget deal just passed by Congress extended the Medicare sequester and further increases the magnitude of the payment cuts just issued by CMS.

    "The sequester cut to cancer drugs is a wrecking ball to our cancer care delivery system," said Ted Okon, COA executive director. "To make matters worse, oncologists are being hit by insurers who are cutting them out of Obamacare exchange and Medicare Advantage networks, which recently happened en masse to 170 cancer care providers in Florida. In the midst of this chaos, CMS will reduce cancer care payments even further, with no rationale justification, and is simply driving up costs for Medicare and seniors. It doesn't make sense."

    COA's official comment letter to CMS on the agency's 2014 fee schedule for cancer care services can be obtained here:

    SOURCE Community Oncology Alliance
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