Navigation Links
Cancer Patients May Be Unintended Victims of Budget Cuts
Date:4/4/2013

THURSDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- Thousands of Medicare cancer patients are being denied treatment at clinics nationwide because of federal budget cuts related to the so-called sequester, according to a published report.

The mandated cuts took effect April 1, and cancer clinic administrators say they can no longer afford to provide expensive chemotherapy drugs to many Medicare patients, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older and certain others with disabilities.

After an emergency meeting Tuesday, one clinic administrator -- Jeff Vacirca, chief executive of North Shore Hematology Oncology Associates in New York -- told the Post that one-third of the group's 16,000 Medicare patients would be turned away.

"It's a choice between seeing these patients and staying in business," Vacirca told the newspaper. "The drugs we're going to lose money on we're not going to administer right now."

Hospitals, which also provide chemotherapy treatment, may offer an alternative, but it's not clear if they can accommodate the additional patients. Hospitals are also likely to charge more for treatment, and some of those extra costs will likely be borne by patients, said experts cited by the newspaper.

In terms of patients, the numbers are significant. Two-thirds of Medicare patients receive treatment in a community oncology clinic, rather than a hospital, according to a study by the Milliman actuarial firm, the Post reported.

This payment crunch is an unintended consequence of the sequester, some health care experts say. Congress limited Medicare to a 2 percent reduction -- less than that faced by other government programs -- but coverage of cancer drugs falls into a tricky area because they must be administered by a doctor. That puts them into the Medicare Part B category, which falls under the sequester cut, the Post reported.

"I don't think there was an intention to disrupt care or move it into a more expensive setting," said Cathy Schoen, senior vice president of the Commonwealth Fund, which works to promote a high-performing health-care system that achieves better access, improved quality and greater efficiency. "If that's the case, we're being penny-wise and a pound-foolish with these cuts," she told the Post.

Under current regulations, clinic oncologists receive federal reimbursement for the average price of cancer drugs, plus 6 percent for handling and administering them. Because doctors can't raise the drug price, the 2 percent cut has to come out of the 6 percent handling fee, they explained.

Some clinic administrators have urged lawmakers to shield cancer drugs from the sequester cuts, or put a 2 percent cap on reductions from their administrative reimbursement, the newspaper reported.

"We're hoping that something will change, as legislators see the impact of this," said Dr. Ralph Boccia, director of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Bethesda, Md.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about chemotherapy.

-- Margaret Farley Steele

SOURCE: Washington Post


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Study Suggests Vaccine May Help Kids With Brain Cancer
2. New Stool Test Might Aid in Early Detection of Colon Cancer
3. Study reveals how cancer drug causes diabetic-like state
4. How a cancer drug leads to diabetes
5. You Survived Cancer: Now Pay Attention to Your Overall Health
6. New drug prevents spread of human prostate cancer cells
7. Eliminating the good cholesterol receptor may fight breast cancer
8. Taller, Heavier Women May Face Higher Ovarian Cancer Risk
9. Experimental Chemo Combo for Colon Cancer Disappoints
10. Veggies Like Broccoli, Cabbage May Help Fight Breast Cancer: Study
11. Targeted therapeutics for colon cancer to be presented at AACR meeting
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Cancer Patients May Be Unintended Victims of Budget Cuts 
(Date:3/24/2017)... FL (PRWEB) , ... March 24, 2017 , ... ... Inc. ( http://www.hygieacare.com ) announced their partnership to prep patients for colonoscopy at ... Endoscopy Centers in 87th Ave., Miami, FL. , The HyGIeaCare® ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... Judy Buchanan, ... Master in Frederick, MD. Judy says, “I am passionate about sharing Reiki as ... a very difficult and challenging time.” , A Certified Medical Reiki™ Master trained ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... “End Time GPS”: a dauntless and enlightened ... “End Time GPS” is the creation of published author, Wesley Gerboth, a World War ... munitions and space-vehicle projects. Now, at age ninety-one, he shares the Wisdom God bestowed ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... “The Communion of ... people of God in congregations across the United States. “The Communion of ... in 1964 who has served congregations in seven states throughout his long career ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... In 2016 the World Health Organization declared ... be four million Zika-related cases in the Americas within the next year. Lyme disease ... reported per year skyrocketing to an estimated 329,000. Yet, Zika, Lyme and other insect ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... , March 24, 2017  GenomeDx Biosciences today announced ... Database) and Decipher® Prostate Cancer Classifier tests will be ... of Urology (EAU) Congress held March 24 to 28, ... Annual EAU Congress is Europe,s ... research in the urological field. The abstract ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... GENEVA , March 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... Day revitalizes efforts to develop sutezolid as effective response ... Tuberculosis Day, TB Alliance and the Medicines Patent Pool ... of sutezolid, an antibiotic drug candidate which demonstrated encouraging ... development of sutezolid in combination with other TB drugs ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... Replacement Procedure By Technique, Repair Procedure By Technique, By Region, By ... ... forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 13.35% during 2016-2021 ... rising aging population, growth in population with heart disease and rising ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: