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Medicare Changes Impact Care
By Greg Brozeit
02.11.04

The IMF has heard from a number of patients who have been switched from Zometa to Aredia, a change of 20-30 minutes per visit to more than 4 hours.  Additionally, as some oncologists begin to limit their acceptance of new Medicare patients, it seems that some hospitals are doing the same.

Last week in Stamford , CT , Rep. Christopher Shays (R) held the first of five scheduled town hall meetings on the impact of the new rules on the quality of cancer care.  More than 250 patients, family members, oncologists, and nurses attended to express their frustration and opposition to the new rules.  According to sources at the meeting, Rep. Shays—who opposed the rules when the bill was considered last year—pledged to work with others in Congress to change the rules, possibly before the end of this year.

You are encouraged to contact your senators and representatives to express your views on these reforms.  As was reported in earlier issues of the Myeloma Minute, we are very interested in hearing from you about some of the adverse things that may happen including:

  • Oncology groups closing some satellite community offices.
  • Reductions in the numbers of support staff available at some physician offices.
  • Patients being referred to hospital outpatient settings for certain types of drug therapy previously given in-office.
  • Patients being switched from (or off) some drugs that are no longer commercially profitable for physicians.

Please contact IMF Advocacy Consultant Greg Brozeit at greg.brozeit@sbcglobal.net if you are aware of any problems or would like advice on how to make your concerns heard in Congress.


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