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July 14, 2018

Patient Advocate Foundation Receives Grant to Advance Cost of Care Conversations between Patients and Health Care Providers

Hampton, VA – Patients and their families facing serious illnesses or debilitating injuries often suffer from the financial impact of their conditions, but too often they do not discuss these issues with their health care providers. A recent study conducted by the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) found that only about 20 percent of cancer and HIV patients felt they had enough information about how their treatment choices would impact their financial situations and 70 percent said they had experienced a financial hardship as a result of their illness or its care.


The Patient Advocate Foundation and its affiliate the National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) have received a grant to help raise awareness of the importance of talking about the financial impact of illness and develop tools for patients, advocates and providers to facilitate these conversations. The grant, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, builds on the exploratory research conducted by eight previous grantees who focused on cost of care discussion for vulnerable populations and integrating these discussions into the clinical workflow.


“Patients’ lives often change dramatically when they are facing a serious illness or injury,” said Alan Balch, PhD, chief executive officer of both organizations. “They have to deal both with the direct costs of their care as well as the often less visible costs in their lives, things like lost work time, child care and transportation. Talking about the cost of care with your health care team is a critical component of shared decision making and treatment planning.”


PAF/NPAF will primarily focus its grant-related efforts on working with patients advocates, case managers and patient navigators because these are the groups who frequently make patients aware of the need to raise financial concerns with their health care team and provide the tools and resources for this purpose. PAF/NPAF will use patient stories and case studies to illustrate key points in cost of care discussions and will focus on Cost of Care as the topic for its Fall Policy Consortium, scheduled for November 29, 2018.


“We are thrilled to work with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and to continue the excellent work that has already been done in this area,” said Gwen Darien, executive vice president for patient advocacy. “Dealing with the cost of patient care is integral to our mission of assuring that every patient has access to high quality, affordable care.”