Sunday, February 25, 2024

Metastatic Breast Cancer Access To Care Act

Measuring Success Moving Forward

Bill increasing access to breast cancer screenings for all ages to become law

Mendoza said the OCOE is currently analyzing data from patient surveys to measure the effectiveness of the program. Results will most likely be released next year.

âWeâre looking at from when we first brought in the patient navigators for Indigenous and Black/African-descent populations ,â he said. âThatâs when we reoriented things from being a crisis-care model to one that is proactive and longitudinal in nature.â

His hope is that the program will prove successful enough that it can be expanded to Fred Hutchâs other locations around the Seattle area and elsewhere in Washington state.

âOffering this service to patients no matter where theyâre being cared for would be fantastic,â he said.

But that requires funding, of course.

âRight now, some of our navigators are funded through grants which is wonderful but nerve-wracking,â he said. âWhat if the grant doesnât come through? Weâve all seen that happen. Making sure the navigators are funded through the Hutchâs operational budget would be a wonderful way to recognize how important and essential they are to the care team.â

Even without the survey data to back it up, Mendoza believes the patient navigation program has absolutely proven its value.

For Schalau, the metastatic breast cancer patient that Devine helped with financial resources, those little things can mean everything.

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Support The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access To Care Act

Our friends over at the Young Survival Coalition have just shared this great, legislative advocacy opportunity with us and we couldnt wait to share it with you!

From now through September 9, you have an important opportunity to make your voice count! The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act is an important legislative priority of the National Breast Cancer Coalition that concerns Medicare and Social Security eligibility for metastatic breast cancer patients.

If passed, HR 2178/S 1374 would waive the 24-month waiting period for Medicare eligibility and the 5-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

During August, Congress is on a break, so its a great time to reach out. You are your own best advocate, and this is an important opportunity to make a difference!

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What Is Palliative Care For Metastatic Breast Cancer

ASK YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TO COSPONSOR THE METASTATIC BREAST CANCER ...

While you might go to a hospital or doctors office to get palliative care for metastatic breast cancer, you can also get this care in a hospital.

Palliative care involves a whole team of people helping you. Youll have a physician and advanced practice providers, such as an oncology team, as well as a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant you would see in the palliative care clinic.

Theres also a team of social workers that can help with navigating challenges, as sometimes you have existential-type feelings that come up that might build up and cause stress, Dickerson adds. We also have art therapy and music therapy here, as well as access to chaplains and other spiritual care providers.

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Shown Here: Introduced In House

Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act

This bill expedites payment of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and eligibility for Medicare coverage for those with metastatic breast cancer .

Specifically, the bill eliminates the 5-month waiting period for SSDI benefits and the subsequent 24-month waiting period for Medicare coverage for individuals with metastatic breast cancer. Under current law, individuals generally must wait five months after the onset of disability to begin receiving SSDI benefits and an additional 24 months to become eligible for Medicare.

National Breast Cancer Coalition Metastatic Breast Cancer Access To Care Act Statement

The National Breast Cancer Coalition commends U.S. Rep. Peter King and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor for introducing the Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act. This important legislation is a top priority for NBCC and would provide individuals with metastatic breast cancer who already qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance and are therefore eligible for Medicare immediate access to support and medical care. Under current law, these individuals must wait five months for SSDI and 24 months for Medicare benefits to take effect. This bill would waive both waiting periods.

Since 1991, the National Breast Cancer Coalition has focused on ensuring that all individuals at risk for or with breast cancer have access to quality health care, said Fran Visco, President. Waiving these waiting periods helps assure that women and men living with metastatic breast cancer have access to the support and medical care they deserve.

Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that has spread from the breast to the bones, lungs or other distant parts of the body. While there are some treatments, there is no cure. The average life expectancy of an individual with metastatic breast cancer is 3 years.

NBCC encourages Congress to enact this critical legislation to help individuals like Ellen Kay Duffy and thousands like her get access to the care they need.

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Identify Your Support System

When thinking about your health, planning ahead and making sure your affairs are in order is never a bad idea. If youre living with metastatic breast cancer, thats extra important. A big component of palliative medicine is making sure you have your advanced directives in place, Dickerson says, like a designated surrogate decision maker, who can act on your behalf if youre unable to make healthcare decisions for yourself.

Palliative care can also help you get a sense of the beneficial resources and services available to you, both via your healthcare provider and in the community. We have social workers that are part of our team, Dickerson says. Theyre usually a great starting point. And if you need additional support, the social worker can help us make appropriate referrals.

Cope With The Diagnosis

Balancing Act: Treatment Choices and Side Effects in Metastatic Breast Cancer

Being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer can be an emotional roller coaster. Palliative care offers resources so you can take care of your mental health as well as your physical health. This diagnosis can be really challenging, Dickerson says. Your life is often completely uprooted. Having that extra support from a psychologist or therapist is really important. They can also help you talk with your loved ones or help you cope with your diagnosis.

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Shown Here: Introduced In Senate

Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act

This bill expedites payment of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and eligibility for Medicare coverage for those with metastatic breast cancer .

Specifically, the bill eliminates the 5-month waiting period for SSDI benefits and the subsequent 24-month waiting period for Medicare coverage for individuals with metastatic breast cancer. Under current law, individuals generally must wait five months after the onset of disability to begin receiving SSDI benefits and an additional 24 months to become eligible for Medicare.

Metastatic Breast Cancer: Access To Care And Why It Matters

Lost homes, delayed treatments, death. Metastatic breast cancer patients have a shot at changing the access paradigm.

“We’ve lost three rental homes and a motorhome because I don’t work due to stage 4 breast cancer. I’ve hired an attorney. I’ve gone to a hearing and received partial disability. We’ve asked for a reconsideration and I’m still waiting … I’ve been fighting this for four years.” – Carrie, Maryland

“During that two-year waiting period for Medicare, I completely cleaned out every dime I had in my small savings, I moved in with family and I lived off credit cards, accumulating quite a hefty debt. I was paying $500 to continue my personal insurance policy and then the normal cost of living . I emptied the bank and ran up thousands of dollars in debt before the waiting period was up. Even once I finally began receiving my disability payments, it was only a small amount and my first priority was paying the $500 monthly premium for my insurance to continue … , they deduct the cost of my Medicare premium from my already meager disability check, then I have to use what’s left for my personal insurance policy. Whatever’s left after both of those costs, I get to live off of. It’s a sad system but I’m stuck.” – Tia, Nevada

These are quotes I gathered from women I know who have metastatic breast cancer.

Easy, right?

Jennifer Berzok, of NBCC, says that this legislation is the latest push in many years of efforts to get broader coverage for all Americans.

Do it today!

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Metastatic Breast Cancer Access To Care Act

BCCRF is proud to announce our support and advocacy efforts toward the Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act. Originally introduced in June 2018 by Representatives Peter King and Kathy Castor , this vital legislation would waive the 24-month waiting period for Medicare eligibility and the 5-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for individuals under 65 with metastatic breast cancer. Every year, breast cancer advocates from all over the country fight to have congress appropriate funds for this important bill by reaching out to their representatives and urging them to sign on as co-sponsors.

In detail, the Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act would provide individuals with metastatic breast cancer who already qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance and are therefore eligible for Medicare immediate access to support and medical care. Under current law, these individuals must wait five months for SSDI and 24 months for Medicare benefits to take effect. This bill would waive both waiting periods.

Federal Precedent For Extended Coverage

The National Breast Cancer Coalitions Statement on California v. Texas ...

The National Breast Cancer Coalition urges Congress to enact legislation to amend the Social Security Act to eliminate waiting periods for disability insurance benefits and Medicare coverage for eligible individuals with metastatic breast cancer.

In 2001, Congress passed a bill to add Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis as a qualifying condition for automatic Medicare coverage and, in 2020, waived the five-month waiting period for SSDI for individuals with ALS, thus creating a federal precedent. Based on the limited life expectancy of individuals with metastatic disease, an average of 3 years, NBCC believes that both automatic SSDI and Medicare coverage should also apply to metastatic breast cancer patients who qualify.

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A Sensitivity To Bias

For Deas, sharing these resources with the community is critical.

âPatients donât know they have these resources available,â she said, adding that her own uncle, who lived in Tacoma, recently died of throat cancer, which if caught early is often survivable.

Unfortunately, his cancer was misdiagnosed for years.

âWith African American men, a lot of things are misdiagnosed,â she said. âIt took one smart ER resident to finally figure out he had throat cancer and not a sore throat or bronchitis. By that time, it had spread. He had surgery, but they didnât get it all.â

After surgery, she said, her uncle developed a lump.

âWhen I addressed it with his medical team, they finally tested it and confirmed that the cancer was back and it was aggressive,â she said. âMy uncle ultimately died. But had he had some of our transportation resources, he might have decided to travel to Seattle for his treatment. He was a proud man and convenience played a major role in continuing his care locally. Patient navigation would have made a big difference in my uncleâs care.â

Deas said experiences like that have prepared her for the work she does with cancer patients today.

âBecause of the things Iâve been exposed to, I have more sensitivity to the challenges people are going through,â she said.

But navigating the system for patients is only part of what needs to be done to improve health outcomes, she added.

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Reps Castor Katko Reintroduce Bipartisan Metastatic Breast Cancer Access To Care Act

Health Care Legislation Women

Today, U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor and John Katko reintroduced the bipartisan Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act. This legislation would provide immediate access to support and medical care for individuals with metastatic breast cancer who already qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance and are therefore eligible for Medicare. Under current law, these individuals must wait five months for SSDI and 24 months for Medicare benefits to take effect. This bill would waive both waiting periods, potentially improving outcomes for Americans with late-stage cancer.

Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that has spread from the breast to the bones, lungs or other distant parts of the body. While there are some treatments, there is no cure. The average life expectancy of an individual with metastatic breast cancer is three years.

Too many women and men in the U.S. have to deal with how to pay for treatment and provide for their families while they are dying from metastatic breast cancer, saidFran Visco, President of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. The National Breast Cancer Coalition and its members from across the country who have worked hard for years to address this issue are grateful for Representatives Castor and Katkos leadership on this bill. It will make a significant difference for those who face this terrible situation.

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Susan G Komen Thanks Members Of Congress For Introducing The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access To Care Act

Urges Swift Passage So Patients Can Immediately Receive Needed Benefits

Susan G. Komen®, the worlds leading breast cancer organization, thanked members of Congress for introducing legislation that would make Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare benefits immediately available to persons living with metastatic breast cancer .

Senators Chris Murphy and Joni Ernst and Representatives Kathy Castor and John Katko led the reintroduction of The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act . Currently, persons diagnosed with MBC must wait five months to receive SSDI and 24 months to receive Medicare benefits. The legislation would remove those waiting periods and increase access to care and quality of life for those who are in need.

Persons living with metastatic breast cancer dont have time to wait they need care and financial help now, said Molly Guthrie, Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at Susan G. Komen. Unfortunately, we have heard too many stories of patients dying while waiting to receive their benefits so we are very appreciative of the leadership of Sens. Murphy and Ernst and Reps. Castor and Katko and for recognizing that these waiting periods are barriers to care and must be eliminated.

More than 168,000 Americans live with MBC, breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast. Treatments exist for MBC but there is no cure for it. MBC is also responsible for the majority of the more than 44,000 breast cancer deaths each year.

Where Can You Get Palliative Care Treatment

Exploring clinical trials for breast cancer – Mayo Clinic

Palliative care can be inpatient or outpatient. In fact, Dickerson says theres even a palliative medicine at-home program. Juggling many appointments can be challenging, Dickerson acknowledges, although making time for palliative care is absolutely worth it.

I often say that having metastatic cancer is like a full-time job, Dickerson says. Youre coming for treatment. Youre going for scans, going for labs, coming to appointments. Maybe youre going to palliative medicine on top of whatever other appointments you have outside of the oncology world. Coping with this can be overwhelming and palliative medicine can help with that.

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Who Needs Palliative Care For Metastatic Breast Cancer

Dickerson says your primary oncology team will usually decide that palliative care might be a good idea. For example, if youre having symptoms that are too complicated for oncology to manage or youre having severe pain and youre requiring large doses of opiates and other complementary medications they might refer you to palliative medicine.

Your oncology team also might not be trained to prescribe advanced medications for severe pain or help you manage the dosages, she adds. That would be a time where your team might say, We need the help of palliative care.’

Dickerson adds that you dont have to wait to be referred to palliative care, however. Its perfectly okay to ask your doctor whether this might be a good option for you. Ive seen people who say, Ive heard about this thing called palliative medicine. Is this something that I would benefit from?’

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