Canada Health audit fails some cancer patients, advocates say

13:06  07 december  2017
13:06  07 december  2017 Source:   cbc.ca

Syrian students shave their heads to benefit Cedars Cancer Foundation

  Syrian students shave their heads to benefit Cedars Cancer Foundation Two Syrian teenagers went from victims of war in Aleppo two years ago to volunteers today, cutting off their locks for a good cause.The six students sit in a row, nervously awaiting their turns. Some hold hands, while others fidget in their chairs. Mgrdich Derderian passes his hand through his long, dark locks, one last time.

An advocacy coalition for cancer patients says a report by Ontario's auditor general falls short in its recommendations to correct inequities for patients taking oral cancer drugs that aren't covered by the province's drug benefit program. Audit points to gaps. In her report released Wednesday, Auditor

An advocacy coalition for cancer patients says a report by Ontario’s auditor general falls short in its recommendations to correct inequities for patients taking oral cancer drugs that aren’t covered by the province’s drug benefit program. Audit points to gaps. In her report released Wednesday, Auditor

Health audit fails some cancer patients, advocates say© 9dream studio/Shutterstock Health audit fails some cancer patients, advocates say

An advocacy coalition for cancer patients says a report by Ontario's auditor general falls short in its recommendations to correct inequities for patients taking oral cancer drugs that aren't covered by the province's drug benefit program.

CanCertainty is a coalition of 35 Canadian patient groups, cancer health charities, oncologists, cancer care professionals and caregiver organizations that lobbies for improved and more affordable take-home cancer treatments.

Some of the oral drugs can cost $8,000 a month, according to CanCertainty.

'Flip Or Flop' star Tarek El Moussa: Christina stood by me after double cancer diagnosis

  'Flip Or Flop' star Tarek El Moussa: Christina stood by me after double cancer diagnosis HGTV’s Tarek El Moussa has faced many battles in the last few years. The “Flip or Flop” star talks about being diagnosed with both thyroid and testicular cancer. “No joke, I thought I was going to die,” the reality star told Us Weekly in an exclusive interview. “I was like, ‘Two cancers?”Back in November, El Moussa spoke to Fox News about what it was like to receive a second cancer diagnosis on top of the first diagnosis he had previously received.“I’ll never forget the day when I found out I was also diagnosed with testicular cancer.

An advocacy coalition for cancer patients says a report by Ontario's auditor general falls short in its recommendations to correct inequities for patients taking oral cancer drugs that aren't covered by the province's drug benefit program.

Health audit fails some cancer patients , advocates say . An advocacy coalition for cancer patients says a report by Ontario's auditor general falls short in its recommendations to correct inequities for patients taking oral cancer drugs that aren't covered by the province's drug benefit

The coalition estimates more than 20,000 Ontarians under the age of 65 who are without private insurance will require take-home cancer drugs to treat their disease this year, and says many are paying out of pocket.

Audit points to gaps

In her report released Wednesday, Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk highlighted gaps in drug treatment coverage for cancer patients.

'I believe it's absolutely cruel and I believe it's unnecessary.' - Robert Bick, CanCertainty

She noted the full cost of cancer drugs is not covered in Ontario unless the treatment is administered in a hospital.

Robert Bick, co-lead of CanCertainty, applauds the auditor for "shining a light on the deficiencies" in the system, but said her criticism fell short.

"She's suggesting bare minimum repairs on an already outdated system," Bick said,

Nova Scotia Power business dealings under microscope

  Nova Scotia Power business dealings under microscope Nova Scotia Power will attend a potentially contentious regulatory hearing on Monday. An audit found that the company has violated a code of conduct governing its transactions with affiliates. The auditors highlighted one affiliate contract where NSP selected Emera Utility Services to test 10,000 to 45,000 transformers. The audit revealed: "Broad, unrestricted" communication between NSP and Emera Utility Services sharing commercially sensitive information. Overpayment for agreed costs. Failure to analyze alternatives. The final bill exceeded NSP's in-house estimate. The dollar values were blacked out in the audit.

Health audit fails some cancer patients , advocates say . An advocacy coalition for cancer patients says a report by Ontario's auditor general falls short in its recommendations to correct inequities for patients taking oral cancer drugs that aren't covered by the province's drug benefit

Health audit fails some cancer patients , advocates say . An advocacy coalition for cancer patients says a report by Ontario's auditor general falls short in its recommendations to correct inequities for patients taking oral cancer drugs that aren't covered by the province's drug benefit

If a cancer patient can't afford to pay for oral medication taken at home, they can apply for financial help under two separate provincial programs: a special allowance for catastrophic drug costs under the Trillium Drug Program, and the Exceptional Access Program.

Aid application process complex

Bick said the process for applying for those funds is complicated, and patients can wait weeks just to find out whether they'll be covered. Lysyk recommended in her report that the approval process be sped up.

But Cancertainty wants the province to go further by simply covering all cancer drugs, wherever they're administered intravenously in hospital, or orally at home.

"Treat all cancer patients universally, regardless if they are infused in a hospital or take the drugs in their home," Bick said.

Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia fully cover the cost of cancer drugs, whether they're administered in a hospital or not.

Doctors angry over medicinal pot tax

  Doctors angry over medicinal pot tax Ottawa must withdraw its plan to charge tax on medicinal marijuana or risk having an adverse effect on patients, a group of more than 50 doctors warned Monday as the federal government hashed out a pot-tax revenue-sharing agreement with the provinces and territories. The doctors, who describe themselves as a group of physicians who routinely prescribe marijuana to their patients, say applying a sales or excise tax to medicinal pot would impose a financial barrier for those who use the drug to manage their symptoms, compared to patients who take other medication.© Provided by thecanadianpress.

Patient Advocate Foundation , a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of patients whose health -insurance claims have "Insurance companies frequently make errors," says Davenport-Ennis. "We did an audit in 2005 of all Cancer patients (who were originally the focus of the organization)

But Pollitz and other experts say the federal health overhaul, as important as it is, does not solve all the problems facing such patients . But some advocates fear this trend may be exacerbated under the new health law. “We don’t have good data yet on how often cancer centers are included” in

'Silo mentality'

Ontario suffers from a "silo mentality," according Dr. Sandy Sehdev, a medical oncologist at the Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre.

He said the government funding of cancer drugs hasn't adapted to the fact that treatment is increasingly being given orally, often at home. Those drugs should be funded the same way intravenous drugs are, Sehdev said.

Sehdev said one family doctor told him filling out applications for financial aid are "more complex than filling out a tax return."

He said it's unacceptable that a patient battling cancer has to wait six weeks to hear whether they've been approved for aid.

"We've all had patients who have either passed away or become too sick to have treatment just because of the delay," Sehdev said. "I've seen some patients who, if they hadn't started their oral drugs within days, we would have lost them."

"I believe it's absolutely cruel and I believe it's unnecessary," Bick said. "I believe [that in] a health-care system that strives to be better, this should be one of the first things we try and repair"

Up to 141 fertility clinic patients exposed to sexually transmitted infections: Alberta Health Services .
Up to 141 fertility clinic patients exposed to sexually transmitted infections: Alberta Health ServicesWomen who received an endovaginal ultrasound at the Royal Alexandra Hospital’s fertility clinic last month may be at risk of blood-borne and sexually transmitted infections due to a “possible lapse” in cleaning and disinfection procedures, Alberta Health Services says.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!