Topic: ASCO reporting, thoughts on the cost of cancer care
This post does incorporate some discussion of hospice care. I am worried that this piece of my report may seem negative, or that it may suggest that someone should not seek treatment. I want to be sure that everyone knows with CC, we may sometimes need to exhaust our resources and fight for our survival. Procedures and tests may need to be done, often.
That being said, I see that there will possibly be a switch towards moving patients towards hospice earlier in their diagnosis. This will most likely be because of the increased quality of care for the patients and families, but also the decrease in cost with less hospital admissions or other costly treatments.
Cost will also most likely change with the new health care bill that was passed.
I wrote this prior to that ruling.
Cost of Cancer Care
As the cost of health care continues to rise in this country, the public, health care providers, and policy makers are beginning to take notice. During the session entitled: Costs of Cancer Care: Affordability, Access, and Policy; some disturbing data and also possible solutions were discussed. t was reported that insurance premiums have doubled in the past 10 years, and increased by 9% in the year 2011 alone. With these increases, there are projected to be at least one million medical bankruptcies in the U.S. this year.
The reporting physicians discussed in detail their thoughts on how to reduce cost. It was stated that at least “30% of care is not evidence based”. Evidence based meaning, there is no proven reason for giving a specific kind of care. Research has not shown the treatment, medication, procedure, etc. to be beneficial. Prescribing care when it will not benefit the patient, yet will increase the cost of their care, is a disturbing trend. It was also suggested that interventions are so often provided, yet the cost of these interventions is not considered. Perhaps the patient’s life may be extended, but the issue lies in whether the quality of their remaining life is poor.
One recommendation was for any person with metastatic cancer, and a high tumor burden, to receive a hospice consult early in the process. With hospice, quality of life is of utmost importance and the cost of this care during the patient’s remaining time will be greatly reduced due to factors such as: decreased hospital admissions, etc.