1. Butcher, Lola

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Cancer care facilities are providing more supportive services for patients, but payment for the services is not covering the expense, according to the newly released results from the 2015 "Trends in Cancer Programs" survey conducted by the Association of Community Cancer Centers.

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A large majority-65 percent-of survey respondents cited lack of reimbursement for supportive care services as their biggest challenge.


Most oncology practices are adding services to improve the value of care for their patients. Survey results show that 89 percent of respondents offer nurse navigation; 88 percent offer psychological counseling; 87 percent offer survivorship care; and 87 percent offer palliative care.


"As these programs strive to provide more patient-centered services, knowing the positive effect these services have on improving patient health outcomes, reimbursement has become a bigger challenge," ACCC President Steven L. D'Amato, said in a news release. "Payers will need to recognize the efforts from cancer programs to better communicate the value of these services."


The survey, now in its sixth year, is a joint project of ACCC and Lilly Oncology.


Other noteworthy survey findings:


* Many respondents are worried about their ability to meet Commission on Cancer patient-centered standards that went into effect this year, with more than half (51%) concerned about meeting Standard 3.3 for survivorship care (OT 9/25/14 issue:;


* Quality and compliance initiatives related to oral drugs are on the upswing, with 53 percent of respondents offering these programs in 2015, up from 34 percent the previous year. Most of the programs focus on educating patients about issues related to oral treatments, and 77 percent proactively reach out to patients to make sure they are complying with medication orders; and


* As the number of uninsured patients declines, the number of under-insured patients increases. More than half of respondents reported an increase in the number of under-insured patients, and 44 percent said patients unable to afford treatment is one of their biggest challenges.