A decision exercise to engage cancer patients and families in Deliberation about Medicare Coverage for advanced Cancer Care

Health Services Research
Vol. 14, No. 315
July 2014
Danis, M., Abernethy, A.P., Zafar, S.Y., Samsa, G.P., Wolf, S.P., Howie, L., and Taylor, D.H.

Concerns about unsustainable costs in the US Medicare program loom as the number of retirees increase and experience serious and costly illnesses like cancer. Engagement of stakeholders, particularly cancer patients and their families, in prioritizing insured services offers a valuable strategy for informing Medicare coverage policy. Drawing on HCFO-funded work, this article examines how better information about the priorities of patients and family members dealing with cancer can be elicited using participatory decision tool processes. The researchers used the Choosing Health plans All Together (CHAT) exercise and created a version for cancer patients and their families. Their study results demonstrate that it is possible to involve cancer patients and their families in explicit discussions of their priorities for affordable cancer care through the use of decision tools designed for this purpose. A key question that remains is whether this conversation is possible on a broader, national level.

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