Time to add screening for financial hardship as a quality measure?
Cancer treatment is associated with financial hardship for many patients and families. Screening for financial hardship and referrals to appropriate resources for mitigation are not currently part of most clinical practices. In fact, discussions regarding the cost of treatment occur infrequently in clinical practice. As the cost of cancer treatment continues to rise, the need to mitigate adverse consequences of financial hardship grows more urgent. The introduction of quality measurement and reporting has been successful in establishing standards of care, reducing disparities in receipt of care, and improving other aspects of cancer care outcomes within and across providers. The authors propose the development and adoption of financial hardship screening and management as an additional quality metric for oncology practices. They suggest relevant stakeholders, conveners, and approaches for developing, testing, and implementing a screening and management tool and advocate for endorsement by organizations such as the National Quality Forum and professional societies for oncology care clinicians. The confluence of increasingly high-cost care and widening disparities in ability to pay because of underinsurance and lack of health insurance coverage makes a strong argument to take steps to mitigate the financial consequences of cancer.
Bradley, CJ; Yabroff, KR; Zafar, SY; Shih, Y-CT
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