Many readers may already be aware that rural Oklahoma seniors face significant access issues for the most innovative cancer treatments on the market.
They may not be aware that the Trump administration, which has a strong record on expanding access to cancer treatment, could fix this issue once and for all this year.
One of the most exciting cancer treatments is an immunotherapy known as chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy. Doctors around the country, including in Oklahoma, consider this treatment to be one of the most promising because it’s been proven to improve patient outcomes and save lives.
Yet, many Oklahoma seniors seeking this innovative treatment may not have an easy time accessing it.
That’s because Medicare’s reimbursement process for CAR T-cell therapy is broken.
The provider reimbursement process for CAR T-cell Medicare patients is inadequate for many doctors and hospitals, outside of a very select few.
This creates a scenario in which Oklahoma seniors may not have the best access to one of the most promising cancer treatments available and may have to travel hours to a neighboring state to a hospital that is better reimbursed to administer CAR T-cell therapy.
The Trump administration is facing a decision about whether to implement a long-term solution for provider reimbursement.
They’ve historically done an impressive job of expanding access to the best care available.
They should double down on these efforts and expand access to CAR T-cell therapy, giving more Oklahoma seniors the opportunity to fight.
Billy Shufeldt, South Coffeyville
Editor's Note: Billy Shufeldt is the president of Oklahoma State Grange.
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