Faster Care for Low-Income Patients: New Lung Cancer Treatment Models Emerge

Andrew D. Smith
Published: Saturday, Jan 13, 2018
Brad Vincent, MD

Brad Vincent, MD
Improving outcomes for disadvantaged patients with lung cancer has been a priority for more than 5 years at Mary Bird Perkins—Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The effort involves every aspect of lung cancer care, but the cancer center has worked hardest on the first step in the process: timely screening.

Efforts like that have not only begun to improve outcomes, they have also made Mary Bird Perkins 1 of 5 large practices chosen to help the Association of Community Cancer Centers devise an optimal care coordination model (OCCM) for patients with lung cancer on Medicaid. The final plan won’t be out for another year, but practices that want to improve their treatment of disadvantaged patients with lung cancer can get a head start by considering the most successful ideas from test sites such as Mary Bird or Genesis Cancer Care Center in Zanesville, Ohio.

High Tobacco Use Region

Most of Ohio is flat, fertile, and fully Midwestern, but the Buckeye State’s southeast corner is a tiny slice of Appalachia, a region where the largest industry is still coal mining, the unemployment rate tops 12%, and the antitobacco movement has mostly failed. Roughly 60% of all adults in the 6-county area smoke. Genesis’ modern facility—built 7 years ago to provide comprehensive cancer care in a region that had not been able to offer more than medical oncology—is designed to facilitate current standards of care. However, nurse navigators, financial counselors, and easy collaboration among different specialties cannot help patients who come in too late or fail to complete their treatment.
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