HCSC unveils effort to link cancer patients with specialists from around the country

Health Care Service Corporation recently unveiled a new effort to improve outcomes and reduce the cost of caring for cancer patients.

The insurer began offering Cancer Services and Support to self-funded employers on Jan. 1. The program seeks to proactively connect members to critical care management and educational materials to support them following a diagnosis. 

A pharmacist will be available to review specialty medications, according to an announcement from HCSC, and the clinical team will also use evidence-based guidelines and physician consultations for rare and complex cancer diagnoses.

“Our Cancer Services and Support solution combines the expertise of best-in-class specialists from around the country with the close-to-home care members may prefer,” Monica Berner, M.D., HCSC’s chief clinical officer, said in a press release. “Because Cancer Services and Support will also connect members and local oncologists to a broad and deep network of specialists, this approach can help members find their best treatment path while staying close to home.”

The cost of cancer care is on the rise, reaching $208.9 billion a year, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). There will be more than 2 million new cancer cases this year, according to projections by the American Cancer Society.

Health Care Service Corporation
Monica Berner, M.D. (Health Care Service Corporation)

Berner said in the press release that “a holistic, multi-dimensional approach is important to improve outcomes and ease navigation of the entire process for members and their families.”

In addition to the direct patient supports, the Cancer Services and Support program taps into resources provided by NCI to review clinical trials and identify people who may be eligible for those studies at its designated cancer centers.

HCSC noted that this isn’t its first rodeo when it comes to attacking cancer.

“From education, outreach, and early detection to care management, support for members in the cancer journey is nothing new at HCSC,” the company said in its press release. “Available resources vary by line of business and selected policies.”

The importance of early detection of cancer can’t be overstated, and HCSC touts its Early Detection Cancer Screening that reaches out to members who are due for a screening. Last year, the insurer sent out more than 75,000 at-home colon screening kits to members in its individual and family market plans who could benefit from the kits. HCSC intends to expand that program this year.

HCSC also works closely with the communities it serves on regional programs. Those efforts include a partnership in Illinois with the Asian Health Coalition’s Screening for Cancer, Reducing inequity, and Engaging our Asian Neighborhoods program, or SCREEN.

This initiative aims to close key testing and treatment gaps for patients, HCSC said.

The insurer also operates local programs in Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, according to the announcement.