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Patient Navigation Assistance Can Cut Costs for Mesothelioma Patients

Along with the heartache, fear and grief that comes with a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma, there is also tremendous stress over sky high medical bills. It is well known that healthcare costs are climbing, and nowhere is this more true than when it comes to the cost of cancer care. But a new study out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) may provide a blueprint for how to significantly cut costs and provide mesothelioma and other cancer patients with a more efficient, more effective way of pursuing and navigating their care.

The study examined the outcomes for patients being treated within the UABHealth  System Cancer Community Network that covers 12 community care centers across several southern states. The network has recently launched a Patient Care Connect Program that provided older cancer patients with nonmusical professionals who were specifically trained to help them understand the process throughout the continuum of their care. The study showed that when the system was employed, patient costs decreased by almost $1,000 per quarter. Perhaps more importantly, patient quality of life was improved by a decrease in emergency room visits, hospitalizations and intensive care admissions.

According to Dr. Edward Partridge, director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and the lead on this study, “This study provides hard-core evidence that we can reduce inefficiency and duplication of services, and at the same time make it easier for people to get the cancer care they need.”  The study followed over 12,000 geriatric patients, a population that notably struggles with the intricacies and complexities of the care system. “What we know for sure is that our lay navigators have a positive effect on our patients and engage them in their health care, which can be increasingly complex,” said Dr. Gabrielle Rocque, medical director of the PCCP. “The extra layer of support that navigators provide can make a big difference. We have patients who tell us that they would never have made it through their treatment without their navigator.”

The malignant mesothelioma patient population is largely made up of patients who are older and less comfortable with today’s technology, and the UAB program is just one example of how having an advocate by their side can help. The Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net provide the same essential service. If you or someone you love needs assistance, contact us at  1-800-692-8608.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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