Health

Hospital parking fees are financially toxic for cancer patients


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Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

Transportation to and from cancer centers for outpatient cancer treatment has been identified as one of the two most impactful out-of-pocket expenses incurred by cancer patients and their families, along with actual costs. Products.

In an upcoming issue of the magazine Journal of Medical Radiation and Imaging Sciencea team of radiation oncology residents and a biostatistician from the University of Alberta performed a cross-sectional study to evaluate parking lot fees to regional and community cancer centers in Western Canada to demonstrate a correlation between city-specific indicators and the cost of parking at cancer centers in the western provinces of Canada. They found that hospital parking fees can contribute to suboptimal health outcomes for cancer patients.

Clinicians often underestimate and fail to recognize financial toxicity, which is an increasingly important aspect of cancer care. It refers to the financial pressure and stress experienced by patients and caregivers due to out-of-pocket costs incurred during treatment. cancer treatment. It has been observed that patients change their decisions regarding treatment options available to them if there is a financial consequence. In fact, one study found that “hidden” non-medical costs such as parking and transportation contributed to an estimated C$3.18 billion in lost wages for patients. newly diagnosed cancer and their families.

For this study, public parking fees for 115 cancer centers in western Canada were collected, including locations in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. They are compared with median household income statistics, city-specific cost of living data, and address-specific transit points for each city, as well as parking fees (or lack thereof). fee) for each center. The authors demonstrated in this study that daily parking costs were significantly correlated with transit scores at cancer center addresses and city costs of living across western Canada. Results from the study indicate that cities with a higher cost of living have less free parking, which further increases the economic burden on patients.

One way to ameliorate this loss of income is to provide patients who will receive extended chemotherapy or radiation therapy with subsidized parking or voucher access. Another way to minimize the impact of parking costs on patients is to implement management-proven financial toxicity screening scales. medical professionals such as radiation therapists, nurses, doctors, and social workers before patients begin treatment courses. Through early and accurate screening and identification of individuals at high risk of experiencing financial harm, patients can then benefit from free or subsidized parking.

“What’s remarkable about our study is that to our knowledge, this is the first time someone has found a significant correlation between the daily cost of parking at cancer centers and the city-specific in Canada.The results of our study will inform stakeholders and decision-makers to examine the impact of parking-related financial toxicity on vulnerable people. hurt cancer patient“, explains lead author Mustafa Al Balushi, MD, Department of Radiation Oncology, Cross Cancer Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.

The authors conclude that interventions and strategies at the provincial and federal levels should be initiated to address this increasingly intractable burden on cancer patients. Policymakers and stakeholders should be aware of the interplay between different city-specific indicators and parking fees for cancer patients on the quality of care provided to cancer patients. patients, as well as their cancer treatment outcomes. In addition, consideration should be given to raising awareness among cancer health care professionals and implementing strategies to capture patients at risk for the financial impact of parking with further interventions. follow.

More information:
Evaluation of parking-related financial toxicity of cancer treatment in Western Canada, Journal of Medical Radiation and Imaging Science (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.jmir.2022.11.006

quote: Hospital parking fees that contribute to financial toxicity for cancer patients (2022, 7 December) retrieved 7 December 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-hospital -fees-contribute-financial-toxicity.html

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