CRANBURY, NJ (Oct. 13, 2022) – Patient navigation solves fragmented care delivery by creating a strong, multidisciplinary team/patient relationship. This results in care that is coordinated, effective, efficient, and personalized. However, proposed changes in the 2023 Medicare physician fee schedule put patients at risk by discouraging the multidisciplinary care system.
In reaction to the proposed changes, the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators’ (AONN+) Policy and Advocacy Committee joined the Cancer Leadership Council (CLC) in submitting a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that responds to the new physician fee schedule and other changes to Medicare Part B payment policies.
The CLC states in its September 6 letter that, in addition to discouraging multidisciplinary care, reimbursement reductions for oncology specialists under the new schedule may be so substantial as to “undermine the delivery of cancer care and create barriers to patients’ access to care.” These barriers could include the downsizing of practice staff and even the closure of practices.
“We have seen a reduction in healthcare staff related to the pandemic and the team has slowly reorganized with staff roles and responsibilities,” says AONN+ Program Director Sharon Gentry, MSN, RN, HON-ONN-CG, AOCN, CBCN. “As oncology care continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic, reductions in reimbursement to those caring for cancer patients may add additional burden to oncology practices and create barriers to care for patients.”
Although the letter denounces the new fee schedule and calls upon CMS to take steps to ensure oncology patients continue to receive the complex care they need, it does express support for other proposed changes. These include proposals to colorectal cancer screening that will address gaps in access, thereby improving screening rates and outcomes, and the protection of certain telehealth services through 2023.
About the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators, Inc. (AONN+)
The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators, Inc. (AONN+), is the largest national specialty organization dedicated to improving patient care and quality of life by defining, enhancing, and promoting the role of oncology nurse and patient navigators. The organization, which has more than 9,000 members, was founded in 2009 to provide a network for all professionals involved and interested in patient navigation and survivorship care services in order to better manage the complexities of the cancer treatment process. www.aonnonline.org
For Immediate Release
Gwen Coverdale, 267-884-6328