Click for Ann Arbor, Michigan Forecast
Wednesday October 01, 2014
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed
drawing of the medical symbol

Cancer Cuts

Oncologists seek patients' budget help.

by Eve Silberman

From the July, 2013 issue

Oncologists squeezed by the federal "sequester" are looking for help--from their patients. St. Joe's docs sent out what one calls a "Dear Patient" letter emphasizing that while they will still treat everyone "regardless of insurance," federal Medicare cuts make it harder to provide "high quality services."

Philip Stella, St. Joe's director of oncology, explains that with some drugs costing $5,000 to $10,000 a month, the sequester's 2 percent cut hits hard. If funding isn't restored, he says, St. Joe's docs--who operate as a private practice--may be forced to reduce staff and support programs. The feds pay nothing, he points out, for "four nurses in our employment doing nothing but taking care of patients on the phone."

As staff physicians, U-M Hospital oncologists are reimbursed differently, and are less worried. "There's lots of hype right now," says Hematology/Oncology chief Kathy Cooney. "The ultimate impact is not predictable." Still, U-M oncologist Sam Silver, like Stella, has protested the cuts to legislators and officials, both on the phone and face-to-face in D.C. And Stella says the stress for private practices is real. "They're unfairly targeting cancer patients," says Stella. "Doctors have to step up and speak for the patients."    (end of article)

[Originally published in July, 2013.]

 



 
Bookmark and Share
Print Comment E-mail
Ann Arbor Regent
Top of the Lamp, Ann Arbor's locally owned lighting specialty store.
custom sound systems for your home
Arbor Dog and Omega Phi Alpha present Good Juju Rescue Fundraiser October 18th, 10am-4pm . Fun for t
A Visitors Guide to Ann Arbor