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National Oncologist Group Warns: Current Health Care Reform Legislation Woefully Short In Addressing Cancer Care Crisis
Date:12/11/2009

COA Submits Recommendations to President Obama and Congressional Leadership

Washington, D.C. (Vocus) December 11, 2009 -- The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) today issued a statement warning that oncologists throughout the U.S. may face closing their practices if critical Medicare reimbursement fixes for treating cancer patients are not made as a part of health care reform.

“Current health reform legislation before Congress does not address major inadequacies in Medicare reimbursement and substantial cuts coming in January to cancer care,” said Patrick Cobb, M.D., president of COA and managing partner of Hematology-Oncology Centers of the Northern Rockies in Billings, Montana. “These problems are impacting oncologists now. Many have had to let staff go, and some have already closed practices in communities across the U.S.”

“Released this week, the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer highlighted the progress made in treating cancer over the past 30 years. This country’s cancer care system deserves much of the credit for helping cancer patients receive high quality treatment near home, in their own communities,” continued Dr. Cobb. “But this system is under threat if President Obama and Congress do not act before January. These January cuts threaten the viability of the nation’s community cancer care delivery system, where 84% of Americans with cancer are treated, and jeopardize patients’ access to care. ”

In separate letters to President Barack Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, COA president Dr. Cobb submitted a statement approved by the COA Board of Directors, including a six-part recommendation on solving the cancer care crisis. COA noted that the recent financial crisis has exposed the fragility of the health care payment syst
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