Certain words have the power to make time stop. Malignant. Aggressive. Terminal. Cancer.
Like a spell, they still the air around us – frozen in place, we feel the world we knew slipping away.
And when the hands of the clock begin to move once again, we are not the person we once were, but someone changed.
It’s frightening, daunting, and confusing. You feel as if you’re all alone.
But with a patient navigator by your side, you’re never alone. Navigators guide patients and their families through the complex and exhausting world of cancer. They help patients with everything from scheduling appointments to keeping track of medications to coordinating child care.
When you have someone who knows the system next to you like this, every step of the way, it changes everything.
I saw this first-hand when my sister Jan got sick with cancer, and her patient navigator was a lifesaver.
Navigators lead to better outcomes for patients.
But right now, these services aren’t available to many Americans.
That’s because the proper billing codes don’t exist. That means that insurers can’t pay for them, so most medical practices can’t provide them.
Through the Biden Cancer Moonshot, Joe found a solution.
Today, I’m excited to announce that the Biden Administration is putting in place billing codes that health insurers – including Medicare – can use to pay for patient navigation services.
This means that more Americans will benefit from the critical support that patient navigators provide.
This wouldn’t be possible without the work of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the American Medical Association. Joe and I are grateful for their efforts to make this happen.
I want to thank all of you for joining this call, and for all you do for patients and their families.
I also want to thank the press with us for taking the time to cover this – for sharing this information with the world.
Now that these codes are in place, we need medical practices and insurance companies to do all they can to get this care to the patients and families who need it.
For the father who will be able enroll in a cutting-edge clinical trial – one that could change everything – because his navigator helped him find it.
For the student who won’t have to miss class because her navigator is helping her control the side effects of her cancer treatment.
For the grandmother who will be able to keep traveling and playing with her grandkids – who may sometimes even forget she has cancer – because a navigator helps her follow her treatment plan.
Through the Biden Cancer Moonshot, we’re building a world where the word cancer loses its power. Where patients and their families have a trusted navigator by their side. Where no person has to face cancer alone.