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What Resources Can an Oncology Social Worker Provide?

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Published on March 10, 2020

Key Takeaways

Oncology social worker Thomas Verm, from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, shares how social workers can help point myeloma patients towards educational, financial, logistical and supportive resources. He goes on to say that he helps put power back into the patients’ hands by connecting them with beneficial resources. Watch now to learn more.

This town hall meeting is sponsored by Janssen Biotech, Inc. and Karyopharm Therapeutics with additional support to our partner, Myeloma Crowd (MCR), from Takeda Oncology and Foundation Medicine. These organizations have no editorial control, and Patient Power is solely responsible for the content. It is produced by Patient Power in partnership with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

 

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Myeloma Crowd The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

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Transcript | What Resources Can an Oncology Social Worker Provide?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Jack Aiello:               

Thomas, tell me what resources do you supply your patients, or how do you help them, specifically? 

Thomas Verm:         

Sure. We have a whole list of resources that we go through. It really depends on the specific needs of the patient. Patient Power is obviously a great resource. They didn’t pay me to say that. That’s just a good one to go to. 

Also, the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is also another really good resource. They have some really good financial resources linked to like co-pay assistance and travel assistance.

And for folks that are engaged in a clinical trial or folks that are young adults, there’s an emergency assistance fund which has been really helpful in the past. They’re actually really quick about getting back in touch with you too about whether or not you’ve been approved and when you can start to see some of those funds come in. 

But we also have different resources we reach out to like American Cancer Society has a hotel program and a transportation program. So, if you’re local, sometimes they’ll be able to come and pick you up. They’ll have volunteers that bring you to and from your appointments, which is helpful for a lot of folks that have caregivers that have to be at work or have to be doing something else.

We also have resources and different support groups that we have both institutional at MD Anderson but also in the greater community. So, it’s really a mix of a lot of different things. A lot of the ones I deal with are disease-specific, meaning they’re specifically for blood cancer patients. That’s how we’re able to focus in on what might be helpful to a patient that has a lymphoma, myeloma, or leukemia-type diagnosis.

Jack Aiello:               

You actually work with the patient with respect to financial resources? Will you put them in touch with a drug company that may have a payment program available or LOS which might have co-pay assistance available and such? Does the patient do that? How does that work?

Thomas Verm:         

So, a lot of the leg work is in the hands of the patients just because we work with so many folks on getting in touch with these people. We do offer them the list of resources as in these are some places that you might want to reach out to discuss whether or not assistance is available.

Like, lenalidomide (Revlimid) is a program that has an assistance program for patients under specific criteria. Some of those pharmaceutical companies do offer co-pay assistance for those kinds of really high-dollar drugs. But we do try to offer as much as we can in terms of putting the power in the patients’ hands to be able to reach out to these places and hopefully get beneficial results.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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