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Medicare modernization act did not change chemotherapy as feared
Date:10/7/2007

DURHAM, N.C. -- Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy have not noticed a restriction in their access to treatment following the enactment of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA), despite the act's significant reduction in government reimbursement to oncologists, according to a new study led by researchers in the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI).

Critics of the MMA often said that it would reduce patients access to chemotherapy services, because doctors would receive 30 to 40 percent less reimbursement from the government for administering treatment, said Kevin Schulman, M.D., director of the DCRIs Center for Clinical and Genetic Economics, and senior investigator on the study. Our study showed that patients actually do not perceive barriers to their access to chemotherapy and perceptions about access are really the same among patients who received treatment before the legislation went into effect, and those who received it afterwards.

The team's findings will be published in the November 15, 2007 print edition of the journal Cancer, but also will appear earlier in the journals October 8, 2007 online edition. The study was funded by a grant from the National Patient Advocate Foundations Global Access Project, which brings together 42 national healthcare stakeholder groups -- such as pharmaceutical companies and advocacy groups -- to fund health research projects. The Project has focused on examining the MMAs consequences for patients, providers and healthcare systems.

The Duke researchers examined the results of 1421 surveys completed via the internet by 684 patients who had received chemotherapy prior to the enactment of the MMA and 737 patients who were treated after it went into effect. Respondents answered questions related to issues including the amount of time they waited to start chemotherapy after their initial cancer diagnosis, and how far they had to travel to get their trea
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Contact: Lauren Shaftel Williams
lauren.shaftel@duke.edu
919-684-4966
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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