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Cancer Is Expensive, Help Is Available

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Published on September 6, 2019

Are you or a loved one in need of financial help? Tune in to hear oncology financial navigator Dan Sherman share his advice for patients and families struggling with the overwhelming expense of cancer care. Tune in to learn more about ways to overcome financial barriers.

The ABCs (Access = Better Care) of Patient Power is sponsored by Janssen Oncology and Pharmacyclics LLC. These organizations have no editorial control. It is produced solely by Patient Power.

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Transcript | Cancer Is Expensive, Help Is Available

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.

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.

And so I think it's important for the listener to understand that this is a problem that is occurring with a majority of our patients.  So if we can get past that initial barrier by going I need help with access to care from a financial standpoint, I think that's one big hurtle to start with.  

And so it's very beneficial that family's there so we can get specific answers to some specific questions as well as giving help by getting me possibly some income documentation, bank statements, sometimes I need those things, and helping with filling out forms for the patients.  And we can get all that taken care of so the patient doesn't need to worry about it.  

Dan Sherman:

Yeah, the family doesn't sign forms or friends don't.  Usually in the practice that I do, I do everything I possibly can to fill out everything possible for the patient so the patient doesn't (?) with us, but sometimes I need specific information that only either the patient or family member can provide me, and it's critical that they're there.  

The other thing to factor in here, as I've already discussed the psychological implications of this, the patient is struggling psychologically.  Sometimes they are embarrassed, but sometimes they are also feeling a tremendous amount of guilt, and so it's important that the family member is there, the son or the daughter saying, dad, you're worth this.  We're going to do everything we can to help you, with the understanding that the financial navigator is there rescuing the situation and finding programs that will lessen the financial burden for the patient.  

If they don't have one, they should be asking, why don't you?  And if they don't have one if you're in a city where there are multiple competitors in the hospital systems, you know, it's worth it to give them a call and say do you have this service, and request it because hospitals and oncology providers really need to have this service because it's such a huge barrier to care.  

I would add, though, to this conversation that it's very powerful that the patient also calls the insurance company.  They can hear the real story, the suffering that is going on.  I don't think that it's the patient's responsibility to convince the insurance company to pay here because I think the provider should be doing that, but the patient can add a lot of power to this by communicating with the insurance company as well.  

Dan Sherman:

Absolutely.

Andrew Schorr:

...when they learn that's the medicine that their doctor believes is right for them?

It's important that organizations like yours is bringing attention to this as well because once again, I've said this several times, hospitals need to start taking responsibility and saying this stuff is complex, and we need specialists in the area to address this.  

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.