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National Crisis in Cancer Care Delivery

Posted 9/11/2013

Posted in

  This one is for any policy wonks out there. Some of my blogs are hopefully interesting to most readers, some have interest for women in a specific cancer situation or moment, some are fairly scientific or technical. This one is about national policy and what is perceived as a growing crisis in the delivery of quality cancer care.

  As we all know, our health care system is changing dramatically and quickly with the advent of the Affordable Care Act (note: much less change in Massachusetts where we have had pretty much universal health care for some time) and rising costs across all health care industries. It is way too simple to try to pin the blame on a single sector; it is not just drug costs or unnecessary procedures or high numbers of uninsured patients who drive up the cost for everyone else. This is a thoughtful piece from MedPage about a just released report from the Institute of Medicine.

  Here is the start and then a link:

IOM Declares Cancer Care Crisis

WASHINGTON -- The rise in demand for cancer care, a shrinking provider workforce, growing healthcare costs, and an increasingly complex disease are creating a "crisis in cancer care delivery," the Institute of Medicine (IOM) said Tuesday.
Therefore, a new course for cancer care needs to be charted that better coordinates care and improves data collection on outcomes and quality, the body said in a report on "Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care."

"Most clinicians caring for cancer patients are trying to provide optimal care, but they're
finding it increasingly difficult because of a range of barriers," IOM committee chair Patricia
Ganz, MD, of the University of California Los Angeles, said in a release. "As a nation we need
to chart a new course for cancer care. Changes are needed across the board, from how we
communicate with patients, to how we translate research into practice, to how we coordinate
care and measure its quality."
Roughly 14 million Americans -- 4% of the U.S. population -- have had cancer. That number is
expected to grow to 18 million by 2030 with 2.3 million new cases each year. Meanwhile, the
ranks of several healthcare professions key to cancer care are expected to fall short of
demand in coming


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