A cancer diagnosis affects more than just your health. At Akron General’s McDowell Cancer Institute, we understand what our patients and their families are facing following their diagnosis, which is why we extend a helping hand to each and every one of our cancer patients through our multi-disciplinary team, which includes nurses, caring and trained resource counselor, a reimbursement specialist and a survivorship nurse. Our team is always happy to answer questions and help patients navigate the treatment process. To talk to a team member, please call 330-344-HOPE.
Together with the medical and support staff, our resource counselor is there for patients from the very beginning, meeting with newly-diagnosed patients to help them begin the patient navigation process.
During the initial meeting, a resource counselor provides patients with helpful information, including the counselor’s contact information should patients have questions at any point during their treatment process. We encourage patients to complete an evaluation screening, which helps both the patient and the resource counselor identify potential areas of concern. Based on the screening or at the patient’s request, the resource counselor can provide assistance across multiple areas including:
- Review of patient and family support system
- Providing information about the psychosocial impact of cancer
- Providing or referring counseling to individuals and families
- Providing assistance with insurance or coordination of benefits questions
- Providing information about disability or work-related concerns, such as FMLA or Social Security
- Providing crisis intervention when appropriate
- Assisting with completing advanced directives
- Assisting with difficult-to-solve practical problems
- Providing information and education about the health care system
- Identifying appropriate resources and linkages within the community
Throughout the treatment process, our resource counselor assists patients and their families with any questions regarding emotional, spiritual, financial, practical or other supportive needs. We understand that treatment extends beyond the doctor’s office or hospital setting, which is why our resource counselor focuses on treating emotional and psychological needs.
Overall, resource counselors aim to remove as much stress or uncertainty as possible from the treatment process, which allows the patient to focus on getting well.
Akron General offers resources to help patients and their families through the cancer journey. By working with these national organizations, we can help extend our resources and support, help people stay well, find cures, and fight back against cancer.
Breast Cancer Fund of Ohio www.bcfohio.org/hope.htm
Stephen A. Communale, Jr. Family Cancer Foundation www.stephencomuncale.org
Info Line Community Resource Directory www.211summit.org
Red Cross Medical Transportation www.redcross.org/oh/akron/local-programs/medical transport
Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority http://www.akronhousing.org/index2.aspx
Stewart's Caring Place, for emotional support http://stewartscaringplace.org
For more information please call Resource Counselor/Certified Financial Oncology Social Worker Denise Robinson, LISW at 330-344-3465 or Dena Hunt, LISW, LCDC III at 330-344-6922.
Life-saving cancer treatment and necessary medications can be expensive. For many patients, navigating the world of insurance coverage and treatment costs can be overwhelming and stressful. With the goal of alleviating that stress, a reimbursement specialist steps in to investigate and advocate on behalf of our patients.
The reimbursement specialist focuses on investigating each patient’s insurance benefits and coverage. For patients facing significant out-of-pocket costs, including those who are underinsured or uninsured, the reimbursement specialist identifies opportunities and will complete required applications for patients to receive financial assistance through outside foundations, grants or charitable organizations.
- Providing assistance with cost-sharing or pharmaceutical assistance programs
During 2013 alone, Akron General has helped to secure over $3 million, which has helped patients with their out-of-pocket expenses. This includes nearly $800,000 to cover the cost of medications.
Needymeds, offers assistance with the cost of medicine http://www. needymeds.org/index.htm
For more information about programs that assist in helping with out-of-pocket costs please call our Reimbursement Specialist, Christina Bunting at 330-344-7863.
Once a patient’s treatment is finished, making the transition from cancer patient back to a normal routine can be tough. That’s why the support doesn’t end with a patient’s final appointment. A trained survivorship nurse works closely with the physician, patients and their families following their final treatment to develop an individualized care plan, which details each patient's treatment for future reference and offers post-treatment recommendations.