Additional Medicare Reimbursements Needed For Cancer Care - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/22/06-Tyler

Additional Medicare Reimbursements Needed For Cancer Care

Cancer treatment... Some East Texans doctors say they need more funding to help provide the best treatment for their patients.  According to an oncologist, House Bill 4098 is trying to correct the funds that were cut by the government.  KLTV 7 spoke with an East Texas doctor who is fighting for additional medicare reimbursements, to treat his patients.  

"Absolutely no idea. There is no way that we would have had enough money to have paid for the treatment," says Helen Shifrin.

68 year old Helen Shifrin is on medicare and has no idea how she would have paid for cancer treatment without having a supplemental plan.  She says her treatment is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"I have multiple myeloma which is not curable but treatable, so as a result I will be receiving treatment," says Helen.

Her oncologist, Dr. Gary Gross with the Blood and Cancer Center of East Texas is pushing for House Bill 4098. It would increase the medicare funds doctors receive to provide the latest drugs available to their patients.

"The treatment that was good 15 years ago but I can't afford today's treatment and that doesn't cut it.  15 years ago people may have lived 6 months with cancer that they now live several years with they need the best treatment.  If something is not done people with cancer will die sooner because they don't get the treatment they need," says Dr. Gross.

He says more than 60 percent of his patients are on medicare and he wants each one to receive the newest treatment available.

"This is not about doctor's getting rich. This is about patients being deprived of the care that they need," says Helen.

As a survivor, Helen has called and written local politicians to increase funds for cancer patients... She hopes other will do the same.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.  kdavis@kltv.com

 

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