Patient Access to Care: Fighting to ensure every patient has access to the right treatment

We’re fighting to improve patient access to care

At Patients Rising, we’re working to improve patient access to care.

What does that mean? The cornerstone of your health is knowing your rights as a patient and the responsibilities of those serving you. As a patient, you have the right and responsibility to be informed and participate in decisions about your health, your care, and your coverage.

At a time when more Americans have health insurance than at any other time in history, we need to ensure that coverage means care. Together, our voices can be a powerful tool for change and hold insurance companies accountable for their actions.

Right now, patients are struggling to access their right medications, they are shut out from deciding what treatment is best for them, and they are denied basic rights of privacy and transparency they deserve from their insurance companies.

New tool to improve patient access to care

We often hear about patient access to care in a negative context — when patients are being denied access.

That was certainly the case earlier this year, when we shared one of the most outrageous assaults on patient access. One medical journal wants to exclude keeping a patient alive from the definition of beneficial care. But, what are some of the good stories?

This month, the American Medical Association launched a new tool for physicians and other healthcare providers to improve patient access to care.

“Improving patient access to quality care is a core mission of the AMA, and this mapping tool will show physicians and health care professionals precisely where their skills can most benefit populations in need,” AMA President Andrew W. Gurman, M.D. said in a press release. “Knowing where health care services are needed most can help providers make the best decisions on where to locate or expand their practices to reach patients in greatest need of access to care.”

The Health Workforce Mapper tool identifies geographic areas that are experiencing a shortage of providers. It also helps patients by identifying hospital locations and the areas where we’re experiencing a deficit of a certain medical specialty. You can check out the tool, which was developed in collaboration with the American Academy of Family Physicians Robert Graham Center and HealthLandscape, by visiting the AMA’s website.

This new tool is a great start, and we need to continue that momentum with more training for providers. More than a decade ago, Dartmouth College assembled a practical workbook for providers to find new ways to track their effort to improve patient access to care. Time to transform that workbook into a useful app for a smartphone or tablet.

Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina: Access to Care Gas Card Program

Across the country, local non-profit organizations are working every day to ensure that patients are gaining access to care.

The Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina — through its Patient Access to Care Gas Card Program — provides transportation help to lung cancer patients while seeking treatment. The Initiative hopes this program will lessen the financial burden of patients receiving appropriate lung cancer treatment.

To be eligible for a gas card, the applicant must be a resident of North Carolina and currently undergoing treatment for lung cancer. An application must be completed and signed by both the applicant and the healthcare facility.

Download the application by clicking here.

Preserving Future Access to Care: Join Patients Rising in Boston on September 28

Over the long run, innovation is vital to ensuring patients have future access to care.

The rapid pace of medical innovation is resulting in new, cutting-edge therapies that treat a broad range of cancers and are helping to improve and extend patients’ lives. How can we speed up the pipeline to ensure that patients quickly gain access to those innovations.

Join us in Boston on September 28 for the Economist’s War on Cancer event. We’re sponsoring a breakfast presentation, “Examining the Role of Medical Innovation in the Cost of Cancer Care.” We’ll also cover:

  • To what extent can breakthroughs in medical innovation contribute to saving lives, reducing healthcare spending and growing the economy?
  • What percentage of total cancer-related expenditures do novel cancer therapies represent relative to total healthcare expenditures?
  • Borrowing a page from Gordon Moore and the history of computing hardware, is it possible that medical innovation will reach a point of momentum where advancements exponentially increase?
  • What measures are currently in place to foster a sustainable ecosystem of medical innovation and what policy roadblocks remain?

Video of the Day: Cancer Support Community

Last year, the Cancer Support Community hosted an educational event, “Insight into Patient Access to Care in Cancer Project.” You can learn more about the steps being taken to ensure patients have access to the right treatment.

You’ll receive updates about new resources, patient stories and insights, advocacy work, and alerts about patient-support events.