A coalition of men’s health groups recently sent a strong message to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) in Washington, D.C. regarding financial aspects of prostate cancer patient policies.
Members of the Men’s Health Network, the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, the Prostate Health Education Network Inc. and Us TOO communicated their concerns about least costly alternative (LCA) standards regarding treatments in a joint letter to MedPAC.
Citing several issues, the consortium conveyed their perception that standard bundling arrangements not only discourage providers from considering any treatments costing more than the bare minimum, but also appear may distort of financial incentives and possibly compromise patient care, the letter said.
Bundling payments consist of arrangements between health care providers to link payments for different services received by patients for one care “episode,” lowering costs for Medicare, according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
“LCA policies for prostate cancer drugs are inappropriate because they substitute Medicare’s determination that certain drugs are interchangeable for the physician’s professional judgment," the group's letter stated in part.
Scott Williams, who serves as director of professional relations and public policy for Men’s Health Network, said in the letter that “all things are not equal.”
“LCA means that the treatment you get is not based on what is best for you, but what is cheapest,” Williams said in the letter. “That simply isn’t fair to the patient who is fighting for his life. It is past time for CMS to review and remove policies that threaten rather than support patients.”