Improving Access to Cancer Care

Financial Counseling Manager
Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 4:46pm

Despite improvements in cancer diagnosis and treatment, patients who are uninsured or medically underserved are more susceptible to falling through the cracks in our health care system. Many do not have health insurance, can’t afford it, or have insufficient coverage that limits cancer care.

Others have trouble accessing cancer care because of geographical locations where services are scarce. As our health care system becomes more complex and more difficult to navigate, even people with insurance and lots of resources are facing obstacles that limit access to treatment. This epidemic leads to delays in cancer screening and delays in early detection – when cancer is at its most curable stage.

Unfortunately, disparities in outcomes will always occur as long as people have disparities in their social support systems. If a patient fears unemployment while undergoing treatment, they are less likely to agree to the invasive, but necessary treatments that might cure their cancer.

At Roswell Park, we are doing our part to help underserved patients gain access to life-saving treatments, manage the cost of care and navigate insurance red tape. We discussed our initiatives during the Buffalo Cancer Moonshot Summit, and we are dedicated to the national effort.

Here are some of the ways we are contributing to this cause:

Financial Counseling 

Through our financial assistance program, New York State residents who are uninsured or have difficulty paying for their out-of-pocket costs at Roswell Park may be eligible for discounts or additional coverage through government sponsored programs. We can help you apply for programs like Medicaid, Family Health Plus and Child Health Plus. We also have discounts available for non-NYS residents who are self-pay (uninsured). Additionally, the Charity Care Program covers all medically necessary services provided by Roswell Park. This includes outpatient services, inpatient admissions and physician services.

Buffalo/Niagara Witness Project

Roswell Park has a long history of championing preventive opportunities like the HPV vaccine, screenings like colonoscopy, and tobacco research and control, an area in which Roswell Park has been an international leader since the 1960s. Outreach to disparate communities is an ongoing effort at Roswell Park thanks to programs like the Buffalo/Niagara Witness Project, which reaches vulnerable and medically underserved populations that are least likely to take advantage of life-saving screenings and more likely to be diagnosed with cancer in the later stages.

Transportation and Lodging Program

The last thing patients and family members at Roswell Park want to worry about is how to get to treatment or, in the case of out-of-towners, where to stay when they get here. Thanks to a Lodging and Transportation program funded by donor dollars, they don't have to. We have a strong relationship with the Kevin Guest House, the Doubletree Hotel and other local hotels to help patients defray lodging costs while undergoing treatment.