Medicare Cancer Patients Denied Chemo Under Sequester

Thursday, 04 Apr 2013 11:26 AM

By Lisa Barron

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Thousands of Medicare patients are being denied care at cancer clinics as a result of the sequester, a new report said Thursday.

Oncologists say they are unable to give patients expensive chemotherapy drugs due to the across-the-board federal budget cuts, which went into effect for Medicare on April 1, according to The Washington Post.

Urgent:
ObamaCare Is About to Strike — Are You Prepared?

Jeff Vacirca, chief executive of North Shore Hematology Oncology Associates in New York, told the newspaper that if his clinic treated those patients receiving the most costly drugs, “We’d be out of business in six months to a year,” he said. “The drugs we’re going to lose money on we’re not going to administer right now.”

Vacirca added: “It’s a choice between seeing these patients and staying in business.”

Vacirca’s clinics decided earlier this week to stop seeing one-third of their 16,000 Medicare patients.

Lawmakers limited most of Medicare to spending cuts of 2 percent, far less than the cuts to other government programs. But because cancer drugs must be given by a physician, they are paid by the Medicare program that covers doctor visits and is not exempt from sequestration.

The government usually pays oncologists for the sales price of a chemotherapy drug as well as an additional 6 percent to cover the cost of storing and administering the medication, but they say that now the entire 2 percent cut will have to come out of that 6 percent overhead.

“When I look at the numbers, they don’t add up,” Ralph Boccia, director of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Bethesda, Md., told the Post. “Business 101 says we can’t stay open if we don’t cover our costs.”

Cancer patients who are denied care at local clinics can go to hospitals for chemotherapy treatment, but that will cost the federal government an average of $6,500 more each year than care provided in a clinic, according to the Post. And Medicare patients, responsible for a portion of the bill, could wind up paying an average of $650 more in out-of-pocket-costs.

The Community Oncology Alliance, which advocates on behalf of hundreds of cancer clinics across the country, has sent letters to lawmakers urging them to exempt cancer drugs from the sequester or cut just 2 percent from the money they receive to give the medications.

“We’re hoping that something will change, as legislators see the impact of this,” said Boccia,” adding “I don’t think we could keep going, without a change, for more than a couple of months.”

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Twitter to Track Which Apps Its Users Have

Wednesday, 26 Nov 2014 22:22 PM

If you use Twitter on your cellphone, the social media site will soon begin tracking which apps you use unless you activ . . .

Harry Reid: 'We Sure Do Like' Pope Francis

Wednesday, 26 Nov 2014 22:09 PM

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Mormon, says he's an unabashed fan of Roman Catholic Pope Francis. . . .

EU Presses Google for Global 'Right to Be Forgotten'

Wednesday, 26 Nov 2014 21:36 PM

The European Union is pressing tech giant Google to expand the right to be forgotten to all its search tools.
A r . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved