A coalition of patient advocacy groups has come together to demand that Medicare drop its current prostate cancer treatment policy, charging that the policy emphasizes cost containment over patient well-being. Right now, Medicare policy requires that patients receive the "least cost alternative" (LCA) treatment for prostate cancer, if in CMS's view, multiple treatments appear to offer the same benefits. If patients choose the more expensive treatment, they must cover the difference between what Medicare pays and the provider charges. But the coalition, which includes the Men's Health Network, the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, the Prostate Health Education Network and Us TOO, argues that LCA approaches are inappropriate for several reasons. For one thing, they say, asking patients to carry additional costs for alternate treatments discourages them from getting the care they need for their specific situation as recommended by their physician. LCA approaches can also cause sudden shifts in treatment from quarter to quarter as prices change, the coalition notes.
For more about the issue:
- read this piece from United Press International