Best practices for discussing cancer costs with patients: 3 oncology leaders weigh in

Mackenzie Bean –
Tuesday, August 25th, 2020
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The increasing cost of cancer care is positioning a large concern on clients and their families, a few of whom lack access to quality medical insurance and battle to keep up with out-of-pocket costs. As an outcome, cancer care expenses have actually become a crucial element of patient-provider discussions.

A panel of oncology leaders discussed cancer care and drug costs throughout an Aug. 25 session at the Beckers Oncology Virtual Summit. Panelists included:.

Sharla Gayle Patterson, MD, breast surgical oncologist and medical director at NCH Healthcare Systems Center for Breast Health in Naples, Fla

We have client navigators that work with our clients throughout their care journey, but I believe it can be a little bit disjointed at times. A navigator and compensation professional may have seperate conversations with the patient about expense.

Here are 3 excerpts from their conversation, gently edited for clearness. To view the complete session on-demand, click here.

Concern: What are some finest practices for effective patient-provider discussions about cancer care expenses?.

. Jennifer Hansen, MSN, RN, service line director of cancer quality at Stanford (Calif.) Health Care.

We have client navigators that work with our clients throughout their care journey, but I think it can be a little bit disjointed at times. A navigator and repayment expert might have seperate discussions with the patient about expense.

Latanya Dean, PharmD, assistant director of hematology/oncology drug store services at Stanford Health Care.

Ms. Hansen: We require to make sure were not just asking clients about nausea and neuropathies, however asking them about their monetary issues and what the whole continuum of care is going to look like for them in terms of expenses. Its important to set truly great expectations with the client. And then finally, I believe we require to have better conversations in general with clients about their diagnosis, long-term expectations and survival, and what things are going to look like as their condition advances, so that they have the capability to plan for the future.

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Dr. Patterson: When I talk about expenses with my clients, those conversations arent restricted to simply the treatment at the minute of diagnosis. Ms. Hansen: We require to make sure were not just asking patients about nausea and neuropathies, but asking them about their monetary concerns and what the entire continuum of care is going to look like for them in terms of costs. And then last but not least, I believe we need to have much better conversations in general with patients about their diagnosis, long-lasting expectations and survival, and what things are going to look like as their condition progresses, so that they have the capability to plan for the future.

Dr. Patterson: When I talk about expenses with my patients, those discussions arent limited to just the treatment at the minute of diagnosis. From the day of medical diagnosis, we know that theres going to be treatments and treatments for the whole lifetime of that patient. The discussion has to broaden beyond current treatments today, this month, or even this year.

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