Tony has a strong expertise in the healthcare and managed care/payer arena. He currently manages the workflow of Oncology Business Management, a business trade journal geared towards community oncologists/hematologists.

More Hospital-Based Cancer Programs Offering Patient Financial Advocacy Services

Published: Thursday, Sep 11, 2014

Increasingly, payers and patients are demanding that hospital-based oncology practices take a patient-centered approach in delivering care, with a specific focus on offering some form of financial assistance services to their patients, according to findings from the Association of Community Cancer Centers’ “2014 Trends in Cancer Programs” survey. In fact, 90% of practices offer some form of financial assistance services, the survey said.

Survey resondents report that a specific staff person, or financial specialist, helps patients navigate the complexities of financial assistance and cancer treatment. The survey reported that 84% of programs offer this type of service. In addition, 26% have hired reimbursement specialists to meet this growing patient need. Only 10% of practices also reported the use of nurse navigators and 6% employed social workers to perform these services. The survey also said that only 14% of programs use third-party commercial assistance specialists who charge for services.

This is encouraging because an increasing number of cancer programs are “offering a full spectrum of innovative services that ensure patients’ needs are being met,” said ACCC President Becky L. DeKay, MBA.

Of the 110 cancer programs that responded to the survey, 91% offer palliative care. Other patient-centered approaches include participation in clinical trials (89%), nurse navigators (81%), psychological counseling services (78%), genetic counseling (73%), and survivorship care (72%). In addition, the survey says patient-centered care is driving growth in supportive services like integrative and complementary therapies.

The survey also found that:

  • Market consolidation appears to be slowing down, with 72% of respondents reporting that they saw “no marketplace changes” in 2014 and only 9% reporting consolidation through affiliation (compared to 19% in the 2013 survey).
  • Despite the increasing number of oral oncolytic agents available, only 30% of respondents said that their program actually dispenses oral oncolytics.
  • Nearly 60% of respondents say that they participate in the federal 340B drug program. That number has nearly doubled since 2009, the first year the survey was distributed, when only 26% reported participating in the program. It is expected that more programs will participate (61%), according to the survey.
Survey respondents were comprised of hospital-based cancer programs (64%), university-affiliated cancer programs or teaching hospitals (11%), hospital-employed physician practices (8%), outpatient cancer centers (6%), shared operations (6%), and physician-owned practices (4%).


Association of Community Cancer Centers. 2014 Trends in Cancer Programs.

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