Advocacy Chat: Clinical Trials in the Community Oncology Setting: Positive Impact on Patient Care!
Clinical trials offer patients innovative and safe treatment options—but many patients don’t know how to get started. On May 17th, COA Director of Patient Advocacy and Education, Rose Gerber, MS, and Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute Vice President for Nursing and Research, Colleen Lewis, MSN, ANP-BC, AOCNP, discussed the positive impact of clinical trials, how they work, and how community oncology practices are leading the charge to involve patients in the development of new medicines. Stream it on @OncologyCOA’s YouTube channel today.
ICYMI: The Impact of Health Equity on Cancer Care
What does health equity look like for patients with cancer? COA’s Rose Gerber and Cancer Support Community's Director of Health Equity, Audrey Davis, LPC, PM-LPC, explored factors that affect patient care and health outcomes, how to reduce their negative impact, and how organizations like COA and Cancer Support Community are working to increase health equity for all patients. Stream it on @OncologyCOA's YouTube channel today.
Advocacy Spotlight: Armando Lastra, RN, BSN - CPAN Advocate, New York Cancer & Blood Specialists, New York, New York
When a change in insurance increased Armando Lastra’s copay from $25 to $1,250 a month for cancer medications, he didn’t give in to the system; he fought back. He learned how by participating in the COA Patient Advocacy Network (CPAN).
A critical care nurse by day, Armando was diagnosed with colon cancer at 47 and leukemia at 50. During treatment at New York Cancer & Blood Specialists, he joined the practice’s CPAN chapter and learned about challenges facing patients and oncologists, including abuses by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that can raise costs or limit care.
“I had some insight into the world of oncology, but CPAN showed me there was so much that could be done to improve care for patients like me,” Armando said.
He’d already been asking state and national lawmakers to support cancer patients, but after his employer changed insurance, Armando had a different advocacy challenge. His new insurer’s PBM planned to raise his cancer medication copay by 5,000%. Armando immediately contacted his insurer, the PBM, and his employer, strongly advocating for a reversal of the increase. His efforts didn’t just reduce his monthly expense—it eliminated his copay entirely.
“Knowledge is power. That’s why the education and advocacy COA and CPAN offered me were so critical,” Armando said. “Had it not been for my experience with CPAN, I might not have been able to get the medication I needed.”