NCODA Executive Council Member Lucio N. Gordan of Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute shares insight and thoughts on the ongoing Change Healthcare issue and the importance of keeping patient care at the forefront. We appreciate all member practices for working diligently to support patients and their needs during this challenging industry event. Stay engaged through NCODA CONNECT on this important topic and others that are impacting the oncology industry.

The recent Change Healthcare outage has brought to light a substantial number of new challenges for providers and pharmacies of all sizes throughout the United States. At the heart of the issue is the impact on patients who are critically dependent on maintaining steady access to life-saving medications. This is especially true in oncology where patients regularly require updated dosing adjustments and steady, coordinated care in line with a medically integrated model. This multidisciplinary team method of care allows for a patient-centered approach that offers patients the best possible outcomes.

At Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS), we have worked intensively to maintain the level of support we expect for our patients. FCS has created a comprehensive contingency plan so that we can continue care with minimal disruption by replacing existing dispensing and claims software that allows our team to continue to meet demand. But it has not been easy and involved hundreds of hours of staff time working on this fix. Our in-house specialty pharmacy, Rx To Go, has been making direct patient outreach to new patients and those patients needing refills and has then been working directly with insurance carriers/payers to verify insurance and/or prior authorization. Our scale as Florida’s largest community oncology practice positions us with more flexibility than many smaller organizations.

As an industry, we must have the structure and support to ensure that providers are able to weather this storm and care for patients. That is the top priority for all of us as patients are confused, scared, and struggling to access the medications they need given the high costs of cancer care. Without timely insurance verification and pre-authorization approval, many patients are facing immense and immediate financial threats and the risk of delaying or missing care. We cannot allow this to happen, and we must also work now to prepare for the potential of future cyberattack incidents given what we have learned from this incident. NCODA stands behind all its members and is here to support the sharing of information and models that have been working to navigate this troubling event. We are stronger together and organizations of all structures and sizes can benefit from the learnings of others and our experience at FCS offers one approach. NCODA is providing updates and opportunities to connect via its NCODA Connect member portal. I encourage all members to stay engaged on this platform.

– Lucio N. Gordan, MD, NCODA Executive Council Member, President and Managing Physician at Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute