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Impact of Trained Oncology Financial Navigators on Patient Out-of-Pocket Spending
Todd Yezefski, MD; Jordan Steelquist, BA; Kate Watabayashi, BA; Dan Sherman, MA; and Veena Shankaran, MD

Impact of Trained Oncology Financial Navigators on Patient Out-of-Pocket Spending

Todd Yezefski, MD; Jordan Steelquist, BA; Kate Watabayashi, BA; Dan Sherman, MA; and Veena Shankaran, MD
Hospitals that used trained financial navigators were able to provide financial assistance for their patients with cancer, providing access to care that would otherwise be unaffordable.
ABSTRACT

Objectives: Patients with cancer often face financial hardships, including loss of productivity, high out-of-pocket (OOP) costs, depletion of savings, and bankruptcy. By providing financial guidance and assistance through specially trained navigators, hospitals and cancer care clinics may be able mitigate the financial burdens to patients and also minimize financial losses for the treating institutions.

Study Design: Financial navigators at 4 hospitals were trained through The NaVectis Group, an organization that provides training to healthcare staff to increase patient access to care and assist with OOP expenses. Data regarding financial assistance and hospital revenue were collected after instituting these programs.

Methods: Amount and type of assistance (free medication, new insurance enrollment, premium/co-pay assistance) were determined annually for all qualifying patients at the participating hospitals.

Results: Of 11,186 new patients with cancer seen across the 4 participating hospitals between 2012 and 2016, 3572 (32%) qualified for financial assistance. They obtained $39 million in total financial assistance, averaging $3.5 million per year in the 11 years under observation. Patients saved an average of $33,265 annually on medication, $12,256 through enrollment in insurance plans, $35,294 with premium assistance, and $3076 with co-pay assistance. The 4 hospitals were able to avoid write-offs and save on charity care by an average of $2.1 million per year.

Conclusions: Providing financial navigation training to staff at hospitals and cancer centers can significantly benefit patients through decreased OOP expenditures and also mitigate financial losses for healthcare institutions.

Am J Manag Care. 2018;24(5 Suppl):S74-S79

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