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Financial Toxicity in Radiation Oncology
Financial toxicity is more than a buzzword, it is used to describe the out-of-pocket costs and the economic stress of cancer treatment; burdens that can be toxic to the patient and families. A recent study by Drs. Chino and Hahn -" The unseen side effect that can erode the efficacy of our cancer treatments" found many radiation patients experienced financial toxicity. Surprisingly more patients were worried about the financial aspects of cancer (57%) than dying of cancer (54%)! It doesn’t matter if you treat Proton, SBRT, IMRT, or Brachy if the patient worries whether they must sell the house to be treated!
According to the study and as a specialty, we are not doing a good job of addressing this. 43% of radiation oncologists surveyed thought that someone in their office “often or always” discusses the financial burden with patients…, yet almost 75% of patients stated that their physicians and staff did not help them navigate the financial aspects of their care. That’s quite a disconnect! 
We are on a mission to impact patients and families and eliminate this toxicity in radiation. We haven’t figured it all out yet, but we start the patient dialogue early in the process and try to have 5 touch-points with every patient regarding the financial aspects of their care. One of the most meaningful communications comes at the end of treatment. Patients and families are grateful to know the finality of their cost vs. receiving a bill 6 months later that sends them into cardiac arrest. We pummel payers, we never send patients to collection agencies, and we have lowered the average patient balance – for the entire course of radiation – under financial toxicity levels. But I need your help.

What have you found to reduce financial toxicity? How are you ensuring that the best in class treatment modalities are not diminished from financial stress? I’d appreciate your feedback and I hope to share some of your ideas in the future.  
As proof that this contrarian approach works - A patient recently called our staff to express her gratitude to our office for walking her through the financial process. She said,  "It is such a joy to call this office to make payments because everyone is so nice, we have many bills and this office has by far been the most pleasant and helpful."  

I’m pleased to see the research being done on the very real effects of financial toxicity. Let’s join forces to impact patients and families with more solutions!  

Encouraging Others Success
As a core value of RBS, encouraging others’ success is paramount to the success of the company. In my career at RBS, I have been fortunate to have leaders who recognized and saw potential in me that I didn’t even see in myself. That encouragement and support have helped me grow personally and professionally.

In my role, I am always mindful of how our team supports and inspires patients, physicians, and each other. An intentional focus on helping others achieve their goals is part of the daily agenda. 

Recognizing the needs of our patients and helping them navigate the financial impact of life-saving cancer treatment is the most important aspect of our business. We want to encourage them to continue with their treatments and care, regardless of cost. We will fight the insurance companies for them, allowing them to focus on getting well.
Meet Patient Advocate, Katlyn
As a Patient Advocate, Katlyn strives to create financial value for clients while reducing the financial stress that patients encounter during treatment.

When not at work, Katlyn enjoys day dates with her husband and their mini Aussie, Reecey, on walks at the park. She also has a huge sweet tooth and enjoys baking.

Katlyn's mom inspires her daily; she is the most hard-working, loyal, and honest person that Katlyn has ever met.

Katlyn loves the impact she is able to make at RBS. She aspires to be someone who patients, clients and co-workers can rely on. Katlyn jumped at the opportunity to work for RBS after hearing rave reviews from her best friend. Once she joined the team, Katlyn knew she had found the right fit for her.

Katlyn, thank you for being a positive, shining light to colleagues. Your positive approach and work ethic are contagious. You embody the mission and values of RBS well.
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