Report describes employer strategies on cancer care - Crain's Health Pulse

November 3, 2016

Employers have an opportunity to guide employees to high-quality cancer care through benefit plan design and communication about certain services, according to a new report from the Northeast Business Group on Health. The report recommends steering employees toward centers of excellence for cancer care, encouraging patients to seek second opinions and advising patients to request palliative care earlier in the treatment process. Employers can steer employees toward certain cancer centers that report quality outcomes and support patient-centered practices, such as easy appointment scheduling and care coordination services. The report encourages employers to cover second opinions in their health plans and to consider working with a third-party second opinion vendor to ensure that patients have the right treatment plan. Employers should communicate through their benefits websites the differences between palliative care and hospice care and identify providers that integrate palliative care with other services. The stressful and complex nature of cancer care also makes it worthwhile for employers to find providers that integrate behavioral health with clinical services and to cover financial navigation services to help employees sort out their bills. “The opportunity here is for the employer to make available some set of guidance to employees as they try to address those issues,” said Dr. Jeremy Nobel, medical director at the Northeast Business Group on Health.