Sign Petition to Stop Drastic Medicare Cancer Care Cuts

In conjunction with the Community Oncology Alliance, community oncologists throughout the United States have launched a national petition to urge President Obama and lawmakers to reverse drastic cuts in reimbursement for cancer care that were implemented by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on January 1, 2010 and are slated to compound through 2013.

In conjunction with the Community Oncology Alliance (COA

), community oncologists throughout the United States have launched a national petition to urge President Obama and lawmakers to reverse drastic cuts in reimbursement for cancer care that were implemented by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on January 1, 2010 and are slated to compound through 2013.

Since 2004, Medicare payments for the administration of life-saving cancer drugs have been cut by more than 25%, severely limiting physicians’ ability to treat patients with cancer and forcing some cancer clinics to close. With these new cuts, payments for administrating life-saving cancer drugs will be decreased an additional 5%, with further cuts occurring annually through 2013. In addition, payment cuts are being made for administration of imaging tests, such as positron emission tomography and computed tomography, which are crucial in both cancer diagnosis and management, as well as a 21% payment cut for all physicians’ services starting in March 2010.

“These cuts, as they are planned, will decrease reimbursements far beyond what the US cancer care delivery system—and most patients—can bear,” said Patrick Cobb,MD, president of the COA and managing partner of Hematology-Oncology Center of the Northern Rockies in Billings, Montana, in a press statement, noting that “absorbing more payment cuts is not sustainable, especially as the cost of treating cancer continues to rise.”

Community cancer clinics treat 84% of all patients with cancer in the United States, and many clinics may not be able to survive these additional cuts. The Stop Cancer Care Cuts Petition, which

will be delivered to President Obama and the 111th Congress,

had 15,000 signatures as of late January

. Sign the petition by clicking the Petition hyperlink above.

“Everyone concerned about the future of cancer care in this country should sign this petition. That includes members of the cancer care delivery team, cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors. We must convince our elected leaders of the urgent need to stop cuts to cancer clinics,” said Cobb.