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For Immediate Release: February 3, 2014
ACCC Releases 2014 Patient Assistance and Reimbursement Guide
Help for providers to assist patients in accessing needed resources
ROCKVILLE, Md.—Eighty-eight percent of cancer programs who responded to the recent Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) Trends in Community Cancer Centers survey report seeing increasing numbers of patients who need help with prescription drug expenses, co-pays, and co-insurance. While patient assistance programs and other resources exist to help, the reality is that navigating program requirements, restrictions, and application processes can be daunting—for providers and patients alike.
ACCC's just released 2014 Patient Assistance and Reimbursement Guide is designed to assist healthcare providers in helping patients to access these resources. The guide—now in its fourth year—brings together information on pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical patient assistance program and reimbursement resources in a user-friendly format.
"While patient assistance programs help reduce financial hardships for patients and their families, the application process can be time consuming and tedious for providers and patients. These tasks can be almost impossible for those dealing with the impact of a cancer diagnosis and the demands of treatment, which only adds to the level of stress that the cancer patient is experiencing," said ACCC President Virginia T. Vaitones, MSW, OSW-C.
A recent study from Duke University found that although most cancer patients would like to talk about the cost of care with their doctors, often they don’t, for a variety of reasons. The study concluded that providers need to do more to foster dialogue around these issues.
ACCC's 2014 Patient Assistance and Reimbursement Guide can help cancer program staff in conversations with patients who may be struggling with the financial burdens of cancer care, particularly uninsured and underinsured patients. There is a growing awareness of the importance of enabling patients to focus on healing rather than on the financial burdens of care. Many cancer programs are adding staff to serve as financial advocates to help patients and their families, according to the Trends in Community Cancer Centers survey.
The 2014 edition of the Patient Assistance and Reimbursement Guide includes:
- Financial counselor and patient advocate position descriptions
- Tool to estimate patient responsibility of treatment costs
- Charge capture flow chart
- Patient assistance checklist for uninsured patients
- Co-pay assistance checklist.
"We thought it was important to include an example of how an ACCC member successfully provided these financial assistance services to their patients," said Vaitones. "Last year, financial coordinators at Lehigh Valley Health Network obtained $4.3 million in free or reduced self-administered medication for 202 patients via pharmaceutical assistance programs and clearly helped reduce their patients’ financial barriers to care."
At Aultman Hospital Cancer Center, Resource Advocate Randi Brocious, RN, OCN, used the Patient Assistance and Reimbursement Guide to help create her position description and to assist insured patients with the cost of their co-payments and deductibles. "The patients are so grateful, not only for the financial help, but also for not having to identify and coordinate the process themselves," said Brocious.
ACCC's 2014 Patient Assistance and Reimbursement Guide is available in both a print and digital edition with links directly to the patient assistance program websites, the forms patients and providers need, and more.