ACCC is committed to continue to lead the way by building the confidence of financial advocates, connecting them with solutions and ultimately improving the patient experience. Through the Financial Advocacy Network tools and resources, our goal is to empower providers to proactively integrate financial health into the oncology care continuum and help patients gain access to high-quality care for a better quality of life.
Whether you are an experienced financial advocate or new to the field, this boot camp will empower you to help your patients and your program address the growing issue of financial toxicity. Two levels of dynamic, online courses provide the key introductory knowledge and advanced strategies necessary to help your patients pay for treatment—while maximizing reimbursement at your program.
This guide to financial assistance contains directions program enrollment from 44 companies, granting eligible insured, underinsured, and uninsured patients access to more than 194 oncology medications at little or no cost.
This Playbook is a tool that can be used by anyone on the cancer care team and especially by those who provide any level of financial advocacy services to oncology patients. It should be used to help train those new to their role in financial advocacy and provide additional training and resources for those financial advocates already on the team.
ACCC, its members, and partners have collected new and updated resources to help you develop, implement, and continue to deliver effective financial advocacy services in your cancer program or practice.
In this episode, we talk with an oncology program manager and member of the Financial Advocacy Network Advisory Committee about the great need this robust resource fills in helping relieve financial toxicity, so patients can focus on their cancer care.
Learn about the role of financial navigation in helping patients and providers understand the options available to patients in need of biomarker testing.
Understand the importance of financial health literacy for patients with cancer, how cancer team members can better help patients and caregivers avoid financial toxicity, and what steps cancer programs can take to promote awareness and proactive engagement.
In this interactive virtual meeting, learn about new ACCC resources to onboard new financial advocates and support those already on the team. Panelists will discuss roles, effective practices in onboarding and continuous learning, and how to use and implement the new Financial Advocacy Playbook.
Register today for on-demand access to engaging sessions that will provide you and your colleagues with the tools you’ll need to take on today’s rapidly changing healthcare landscape.
Learn how to better identify and utilize financial resources that are available for patients with multiple myeloma, and implement strategies to improve insurance verification procedures.
Presented at the 2021 ASCO Quality Care Symposium, September 24 - 25, 2021.
Patient Assistance and Reimbursement Guide
Financial Advocacy Services Guidelines
Fighting Financial Toxicity Article
Financial Advocacy Network July 2020 Town Hall Report
Financial Advocacy Network 2019-2020 Census Survey
Financial Advocacy Network Pre-Conference Top Takeaways
Making the Business Case for Hiring a Financial Navigator
This blog post is the last of a seven-part series highlighting the achievements of the 2021 ACCC Innovator Award Winners before their in-depth sessions at the ACCC 38th [Virtual] National Oncology Conference. You can learn more about the innovations being recognized this year and the people who pioneered them by joining us live on November 9-10, 2021.
Palliative care services are an important element of comprehensive cancer care. However, patients are not usually introduced to palliative care providers until their services are needed. Cancer Care Associates of York—a community-based private practice in York, Penn.—is changing this by identifying high-risk patients suitable for palliative interventions up front and allowing patients to access palliative care services as early as possible.
“Given that we practice in oncology, we know that palliative care issues are not new," says Jia Conway, DNP, CRNP, AOCNP, a nurse practitioner at Cancer Care Associates of York. “The issues that were arising in our practice were fragmentation of care and identification of high-risk patients—those who are sick before they start treatment or those who have complications during treatment.”
To better keep patients in treatment out of the hospital and prevent treatment delays due to adverse reactions, Conway spearheaded the development and implementation of a comprehensive community-based palliative care program at her practice. Through this program, staff identify high-risk patients and introduce them before the start of treatment to an advanced practice provider (APP) who teaches patients and family members about palliative care and its benefits.
“We were facing gaps in care when trying to get our patients seen in a reasonable amount of time, especially if pain, dyspnea [difficult of labored breathing], dysphagia [swallowing difficulties], eating, weakness, or anorexia was an issue,” Conway explains. “Our thought process as a practice was that we're already here, we know these patients and their issues, so why not prevent those delays or complications in portions of their care and deliver services in a timely and appropriate fashion?”
Determining and Responding to Need
In 2017, Conway and her team of APPs, oncologists, and nurses first targeted patients with specific diagnoses that usually put them at high risk of recurrent hospitalizations and increased sensitivity to treatment or its side-effects at time of presentations and may require palliative care interventions at some point in the cancer care continuum. They identified patients with head and neck, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, pancreatic, stage IV non-small cell lung cancer, and extensive stage lung cancers as the initial focus of the intervention. Patients with these high-risk oncology malignancies are most likely to need palliative care interventions soon after diagnosis. As the program grew, the team added to its list of specific diagnoses other factors that contribute to an increased need for palliative care services, including specific chemotherapy and treatment regimens that create significant toxicities in patients. As a result, diagnosis, symptoms related to diagnosis and treatment, and treatment response are now the benchmarks clinicians at Cancer Care Associates of York use to identify and stratify patients in terms of their risk of adverse reactions and hospitalizations during treatment.
Using this risk stratification assessment, qualifying patients are scheduled to meet with one of the practice’s five APPs to learn more about palliative care and the practice’s available services and receive symptom monitoring and appropriate interventions. Conway likes to invite the members of patients’ support systems to these appointments and uses the opportunity to initiate potentially difficult conversations early in their care. Conway’s team relies on nursing staff to identify and triage patients with treatment-related symptoms and on the practice’s physician leader to help determine the direction of the palliative care program.
The team uses its electronic health record (EHR) to schedule patients’ 45-minute palliative care visits. “An advanced practitioner goes over with the patient everything possible that is important, including difficult conversations and helping families understand how to have those conversations,” Conway says. “It's become a dynamic team where everybody's doing their part.” Conway explains that nursing staff is key to the program’s success because they are trained in palliative care assessment, documenting results in the EHR, and scheduling visits with key resources (i.e., Conway, other APPs, nutritionists, etc.). Nurses track patient results with custom tools integrated into the EHR after assessments are complete. Patients’ risk scores are calculated and recorded in their EHR and made available to APPs working with patients.
Starting Early is Crucial
As the palliative care program at Cancer Care Associates of York continues to grow, Conway hopes it will become standard of practice to incorporate this type of care into the start of patients’ cancer journeys. “I can tell when patients aren't doing well because you start seeing family members who you never saw before,” says Conway. “We do not want to wait until that happens. We want to get patients and their families in this conversation early on because there are some things that we can prevent sooner rather than later when we understand what is happening globally with our patients.”
Conway says that a key part of her program’s success is teaching everyone in her practice about palliative care and why it is important to offer this care to patients early in their treatment. For others looking to start a similar program, Conway suggests educating yourself on all aspects of palliative care and allowing your program to adapt to meet the needs of your patients. “We’re a private community practice, so our resources are not always the same as an academic center,” she says. “But we do an amazing job with what we have. There are so many moving parts that you need to find out what works and what's going to be reasonable for all the team players who you're going to need to help you make this come to fruition.”
Attend the ACCC 38th [Virtual] National Oncology Conference to learn more about Cancer Care Associates of York’s community-based comprehensive palliative care program, including the creation and implementation of its patient assessment, EHR integration, and interdisciplinary collaboration that allows the palliative care program to adapt to patients’ needs as they grow.
Keeping Up With Changes in Health Insurance - via Oncology Nurse Advisor