Get Updates

IV. What Your Patients Aren’t Telling You

How to Partner with Your Patients to Help Manage the Hidden Costs of Health Care

Primary Sources: Sinai Urban Health Institute, Center for Health Progress

“I don’t hear much about the cost of childcare, but I do have patients that you ask them why they haven’t been seen in two months and the reason is childcare,” Obstetrician/gynecologist, Sinai Urban Health Institute study

“We often find out at the next care visit that the patient didn’t pick up their meds (prescribed at the previous visit) because they cost too much.” Medical assistant, Community practice, University of Rochester Medical Center study

“I think in most places, their immigration status plays into cost. They are afraid to talk about their legal status. A lot of patients don’t fully open up to their full cost-of-care conversations because of their family status.” Provider, Center for Health Progress study

Key Takeaways

  • Indirect costs include costs of travel and transportation, childcare, lost job time and wages, food, parking and other out of pocket costs.
  • Patients often are forced into deciding whether to pay for their medical care or for things like groceries, rent and utility bills.
  • These costs can have an impact on any patient, but are most likely to affect lower income patients.
  • It’s important to take active steps to recognize indirect types of financial toxicity and their impact on patient lives and their treatment decision making. This means knowing which patients are at high risk, screening for both direct and indirect financial concerns, and making appropriate resources available to these patients.