ONS Hails Senator Wyden’s Leadership in Cancer Care

The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) applauds Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) who championed the legislation authorizing the Medicare Care Choices Model (MCCM). The MCCM is an initiative that was recently launched by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to increase access to hospice care for Medicare beneficiaries. Authorized by the Affordable Care Act, it will test whether more seniors who qualify for coverage under the Medicare Hospice Benefit would choose to receive hospice services if they could also continue to receive curative care.

"This Model will improve patient care for individuals with advanced cancers and other chronic diseases by offering more treatment choices, specifically for palliative and hospice care," said ONS President Mary Gullatte, PhD, RN, ANP, BC, AOCN®, FAAN. “Oncology nurses stand at the front lines of cancer care and recognize the important work of Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), which seeks to ensure better treatment options and quality of life, particularly for patients with a diagnosis of cancer."

Senator Wyden’s work was instrumental to the success of the program launch. “This initiative represents a fundamental change in the way health care is delivered,” said Wyden. “Patients and their families should have every choice available to them when faced with a life-threatening illness. Allowing Medicare coverage to continue while under hospice care means that patients no longer have to make a false choice between hospice and curative care.”

Currently, Medicare beneficiaries are required to forgo curative care in order to receive access to palliative care services offered by hospices. CMS will study whether access to such services will result in improved quality of care and patient and family satisfaction, and whether there are any effects on use of curative services and the Medicare Hospice Benefit. Additional information about the MCCM is available on the CMS’s Innovation Center website.

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