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This is the second part of a report on the ACCC Financial Advocacy Network Learning Lab held on December 5, 2018, at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) in Nashville, Tenn. While part one addressed the barriers VICC identified as preventing its provision of optimal financial advocacy services to all patients, part two describes findings at a three-month follow-up evaluation.
Within the three months following the ACCC Learning Lab, VICC participants met with stakeholders and leadership to report on their efforts to take a more proactive approach to financial advocacy. VICC has already implemented a method of tracking patients who sign up for copay assistance and cost-savings programs. Learning Lab participants are working with VICC’s pharmacy billing team to collect metrics on these activities, including cost-savings for patients and for the organization overall.
VICC staff are also planning to provide more robust training and education about financial navigation to help all staff understand the implications of financial toxicity and distress for patients.
In general, VICC staff acknowledge their need for a larger financial navigation structure that will require adding more financial counselors to their team and collecting more data points about their patient population. With the knowledge that their current financial advocacy model is unsustainable, VICC is working to involve key players in a redesign of its entire financial navigation program to better meet the needs of its patients.
To accomplish this, stakeholders have won the support of VICC’s leadership. “We have all the right eyes and ears involved now,” says Lise Ridings, administrative director of operations at VICC. “We had huge attendance [at the Learning Lab], which allowed for broad exposure to the need, and facilitated increased knowledge and awareness.” Ridings adds that just getting people together from across VICC’s various departments has advanced the goal of enhancing the cancer center’s financial advocacy efforts. Breaking down siloes and increasing interdepartmental discussions have brought more attention to the importance of this effort.
Cody Tyler, a clinical business coordinator at VICC and champion for the financial advocacy program, says Learning Lab participants have been asked to pull together data about the cancer center’s financial advocacy efforts to present to the leadership team. Tyler says VICC’s executive leadership is highly involved and actively participates in the financial advocacy team’s core meetings.
“We have been working with executive leaders to draft the future state of the financial navigation program,” says Tyler. She adds that VICC’s leadership is looking to the care team on the front lines to help design and build a program that can address their patients’ growing need for financial resources at every stage of the care continuum.
Stay tuned for more on the ACCC Financial Learning Lab experience from the Fred & Pamela Buffet Cancer Center in Omaha, Nebraska, and the Renown Health Institute for Cancer in Reno, Nevada.
Access ACCC Financial Advocacy Resources Online