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Study: Medicare Covers Only Half the Cost of Administering Chemotherapy to Seniors with Cancer
Date:2/4/2010

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- A comprehensive study of the components of the delivery of modern-day cancer care in community oncology practices revealed that Medicare covers only 56% of the actual costs of administering chemotherapy and providing related infusion room services to seniors with cancer. The remaining costs -- for essential services provided such as treatment planning, care coordination, and follow-up care planning -- are not reimbursed by Medicare, causing many oncology practices to struggle to continue to provide care under the Medicare program.

The study will be presented at the fifth annual Community Oncology Conference, February 5-6, 2010 in Scottsdale, AZ. The conference attracts health care professionals from community settings, where 84% percent of the cancer care in this country is provided, ranging from private practice-based oncologists, hematologists, oncology nurses and pharmacists to practice administrators.

The study by Avalere Health, a strategic healthcare advisory firm, collected detailed qualitative and quantitative data from 76 community oncology practices across the nation, representing 499 oncologists, in order to quantify the full range of services performed by community oncology practices, including those currently reimbursed by Medicare and private insurers as well as many of the services that are unrecognized and thus uncompensated by payers. The study includes data regarding the time physicians and staff spend on each component of care, as well as financial information about the actual capital and expense costs necessary for operating a community oncology practice.

"These results are alarming, especially when one considers that about half of all cancer patients are Medicare patients," said David Eagle,
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SOURCE Community Oncology Alliance
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