No one wants to hear their oncologist is looking to cut costs. Patients would want to know, “How will that affect my care?” Their natural assumption might be “not for the better.” But Dr. Barbara McAneny gently reminds us our instinctive reaction may be off base. In fact, she’s proven it at the New Mexico Cancer Center in Albuquerque, where prioritized prevention helped provide better care to cancer patients, at lower cost. Now, she’s testing the approach at an additional six private oncology practices across the country. Prioritized care aims to cut back on unscheduled and unplanned care. Side effects are aggressively managed to prevent unnecessary and costly ER visits and hospitalization. (Cancer patients with compromised immune systems should not sit in the ER next to sick people—that alone could lead to more care, more costs.) Extended office hours and clinicians who are available by phone can stop patients from making rash decisions about medication or seeking emergency care. Dr. McAneny reports positive outcomes, and she has the data to prove it. That might be enough to change your mind, if not your instincts.

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May 03, 2023  |   WASHINGTON, DC