Doing harm to seniors with cancer


America’s seniors now face a new and unnecessary obstacle when they are diagnosed with cancer.

Sequestration, which has reduced Medicare payments for services provided directly by physicians, has also been applied to reimbursement for chemotherapy and related cancer-fighting drugs, in many cases reimbursing physicians for these drugs at a level below their costs.

This delivers a severe blow to the ability of cancer physicians to treat their patients in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Patient care comes first, but community cancer clinics like mine are small businesses and they cannot be sustained operating at a loss.

Continuing this policy without regard to its unintended consequences will cause clinics to close, inconvenience patients, shift care to more costly sites, treatment delays and, potentially, poorer patient outcomes.

Congress, with pressure from the White House, must act to craft an exception for the benefit of seniors diagnosed with cancer.

Leonard Kalman, M.D., Miami

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