Sequester Triggers Cancer Clinics to Refuse Patients
April 4—Cancer clinics nationwide have started turning away thousands of Medicare patients because of sequester budget cuts that took effect April 1, according to an April 4 Washington Post blog post. Those patients may seek care at hospitals, where costs for chemotherapy have been found to be higher than at clinics.
Oncologists cited in the blog post say the reduced funding is unexpectedly damaging for cancer patients because of the way those treatments are covered. Cancer medications must be administered by a physician and therefore fall under Medicare Part B coverage, which is subject to the budget cuts, as opposed to most other medications, which fall under the Medicare Part D program. According to the blog post, oncology clinics cannot change the drug prices, so the 2 percent cut will come out of their typical 6 percent overhead, making it impossible for them to administer expensive chemotherapy and stay afloat financially.
Publication Date: Thursday, April 04, 2013