Cancer clinics across southwest Ohio are struggling to provide drug therapies for many of their patients as a result of Medicare cuts in reimbursements for cancer drugs included in the government’s spending cuts known as sequestration.
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Clinics cutting back
A recent survey of more than 500 members of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists found the automatic 2 percent budget cuts to Medicare chemotherapy drug reimbursements that took effect April 1 have had a significant impact on their practices and patients. Among the findings:
• 80 percent of survey respondents said that sequestration cuts have affected their practices.
• 74 percent of survey respondents reported having difficulty paying for chemotherapy drugs.
• 50 percent of respondents reported sending their Medicare patients elsewhere for chemotherapy, primarily to more expensive hospital outpatient infusion centers.
• Nearly 50 percent reported not being able to continue caring for Medicare patients unless they have supplemental insurance.
• 22 percent reported they have or will need to close satellite clinical or outreach clinics, assuming the sequester cuts remain in place.
• 14 percent reported having to stop taking Medicare patients altogether at the time of this survey.
Source: American Society of Clinical Oncology
We have closely followed the implementation and effects of sequestration and its impact on the local economy and the people who live here.