A majority of patients with cancer reported their treatment experience improved after consultation with a patient financial navigator (PFN). These findings were presented in a poster during the 46th Annual Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Congress.

Researchers at Sutter Roseville Medical Center in Roseville, California, recruited patients at the beginning of 2020 from their outpatient infusion center for this 6-month pilot program. After meeting with their oncologist, 271 patients who were determined to have a financial need were referred for a consultation with the PFN. During the consult, the PFN screened for financial distress, determined appropriate financial interventions, and followed with patients until treatment completion.

A total of 1 in 5 patients were deemed as in need of financial assistance.


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The PFN was able to obtain an average of $359 in financial assistance for patients through pharmaceutical co-pay programs, insurance optimization, or external foundation grants. This level of assistance associated with an annual net revenue of $296,832 for Sutter Health which corresponded with a monthly net revenue of $15,000 from the PFN program.

The majority of patients (84%) indicated they had a positive treatment experience with the PFN program.

On the basis of these findings, the Sutter Roseville Senior Leadership approved 1.0 full-time employee for the PFN program.

During the pilot, the program offered financial assistance with 12 medications. These findings would likely be underestimations compared with an expanded program.

The data from this pilot indicated other medical institutions may consider launching a similar program as patient treatment experience was improved with PFN support while generating revenue for the healthcare institution.

Reference

Belluomini K, Dejesus L, Kelly T, Klein R, Oates A. Pilot study of an oncology patient financial navigator program in a hospital based outpatient infusion center. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2021;48(2):abstr 9468.

This article originally appeared on Oncology Nurse Advisor