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National Cancer Organizations Issue Joint Statement On Devastating Impact Of Sequestration
Date:4/3/2013

WASHINGTON, April 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Community Oncology Alliance (COA), in conjunction with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), International Oncology Network/AmerisourceBergen, and the US Oncology Network, issued a joint statement on the crippling effects of sequestration cuts to cancer drugs and services which began April 1, 2013.  The organizations also sent letters to Health and Human Services (HHS), the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives.  Sequestration cuts will apply not only to services physicians and others provide, but also to the fixed, pass-through costs of chemotherapy and related cancer-fighting drugs.  Community cancer care providers are struggling to survive in this unsustainable environment.

Unless the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) exercises its authority to modify implementation of sequestration to exclude Part B drugs, sequestration – a move intended to reduce federal spending – will actually jeopardize patient access to cancer care.  A recent survey indicates the sequester cut will force 72 percent of cancer clinics to deny new Medicare patients or send all Medicare patients to the hospital for treatment. Access problems will multiply and costs will increase for both seniors fighting cancer and Medicare.  This will result in higher overall costs for both seniors and the Medicare program by forcing patients into costlier, institutional treatment settings.   

"Never before have I been forced to consider financial concerns when deciding which patients to treat," commented Dr. Mark Thompson , president of COA and an oncologist with the Zangmeister Center in Columbus, Ohio.  "Oncologists should not be put in the untenable position of continuing to treat patients at a loss -- which will result in clinic closings --
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SOURCE Community Oncology Alliance
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