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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.
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:
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. http://www.accc-cancer.org/surveys/pdf/Trends-in-Cancer-Programs-2014.pdf