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

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


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