----- Original Message -----From: Claire LeeSent: Saturday, July 29, 2000 5:45 PMSubject: [MOL] URGENT! IMPORTANT!A letter to patients at the Whittingham Cancer Center in Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut where my oncologist is really shook me up. Have any of you heard about this? Do you think it's true? Here's the letter:
We wish to inform you that the Health Care Financing Administration, a government agency that administers Medicare, has planned a major change in the way they reimburse chemotherapeutic drugs. As a result of this proposal, a physician will actually lose money as reimbursement will be below cost. This change, if implemented this fall, will result in it becoming virtually impossible for us to continue administration of chemotherapeutic drugs to you in our office. This will result in either your being sent to a large chemotherapy clinic or your being hospitalized for chemotherapy. This will be very detrimental to your health as well as to your care.
Accordingly, we urge you to send letters to your senator and representatives and encourage them to block this effort. At the least, you should insist that a study be done regarding the impact ot these changes on cancer care before the changes are implemented.
This idea is so ridiculous that I find it hard to believe. Have any of you heard about such an action? I'm hoping the Center's administrator is an alarmist. However, on the chance that there is indeed a proposal in Congress to this effect, I have done as the letter requested and sent a message to my senator and representatives urging them to prevent this from happening.
I can't believe how short sighted such an idea is. Medicare will still have to pay for the drug if it's administered in a hospital PLUS the high cost of hospitalization of the patient. It's a real loser of an idea. Stupid, too! And I never use the word "stupid" lightly.
But, to be on the safe side, please please write to your legislators.