Washington — Cancer patients would participate more actively in their treatment and be provided with a plan for coordinating their medical services and continuing care under a bipartisan proposal promoted Wednesday by U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La.
“Every patient is unique,” Boustany said at a news conference on the Planning Actively for Cancer Treatment (PACT) Act that he is co-sponsoring with Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif. “You have to deal not only with the disease processes but you have to deal with the illness more broadly.”
That means involving the patient, family members and others in managing treatment and surviving with cancer, Boustany and Capps said. Boustany is a cardiothoracic surgeon from Lafayette, while Capps is a registered nurse.
The measure would establish a new service under the federal Medicare program to provide cancer patients with written plans for their care, addressing both treatment and life as a cancer survivor. That should enhance cooperation among doctors, nurses and other care providers, reducing inefficiency and bringing down the cost of care, Boustany and Capps said.
“We won’t get there without coordination and everyone working off the same sheet of music,” Boustany said.
If incorporated in Medicare, Boustany said, the practice should spread throughout the health-care system.