Sequestration Cuts May Lead to Cancer Patients
Another round of sequestration budget cuts in Washington may mean higher medical costs for cancer patients.
And, the people who some operate cancer clinics say they may have to shut down as a result.
Sequestration has cut the amount of reimbursement cancer clinics will receive for treating medicare patients.
And with these cuts at local clinics, doctors say they are worried about their patients future.
The A.R.N.P at Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute, Tracey Curtis, "I get more from working with my patients than I am actually able to give to them."
And now places like the Florida cancer specialist and research institute may have to give even less.
As of monday, cancer clinics saw a change in the amount of money they are reimbursed for caring for medicare patients.
Sequestration has cut the amount of reimbursement from six percent to four point three percent.
That slight change overall will have a huge impact on patient care according to some Oncologists.
Dr. Lucio Gordan from the Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute had this to say, "We cant afford treating medicare patients because most of the treatments are underwater...like we cant pay for your treatment and not get paid by the government."
This financial cut affects the reimbursement rate which usually means the federal government would usually reimburse for things like administrative care, equipment and the hiring of nurses. Now that could all be eliminated.
Dr.Gordan later explained, "For many clinics in America this could equal shut down of the clinic very quickly like within a month. Because these drugs are extraordinarily expensive and if there is no reimbursement there is no way to survive."
With about 60 percent of this clinics cancer patients depending on medicare this could put the facility at risk of shutting down.
Those patients will be deferred to hospitals for their treatment.
But hospitals can have a higher price.
"And if they couldnt afford the co-payments before hand the chances of they would be able to afford the higher co-payments is pretty small...and its pretty sad" said Curtis.
Dr. Gordan says the best way to change things is to contact their local members of Congress to about passing the bill H-R 800.
That bill will raise medicare drug reimbursement closer to its cost.
Allowing clinics to treat their patients without facing a huge loss.
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