Cancer Patients Have Options for Treatment in Central PA
Most cancer patients, especially those diagnosed in a hospital setting, will be led to believe that the only place they can receive cancer treatment services is within that hospital system. Indeed hospitals are well equipped to provide such treatments, however medical professionals must do a better job educating patients so that they understand there are options well beyond those hospital walls.
For people needing cancer treatment in Central PA, Independent Oncologists, such as the Community Cancer Center located on the Carlisle Pike in Mechanicsburg, provides the exact same services as hospital systems such as Geisinger Holy Spirit or UPMC, Penn State Health, and WellSpan.
Why does it matter who provides your cancer treatment? Because when you're fighting for your life, every day and every dollar matters. Far too often cancer patients are forced to wait days, weeks or even longer for their radiation treatment due to overbooked hospital systems. Then, they're charged sometimes as much as 4x the reasonable rate for such treatment – the same treatment being offered by other providers not more than a few miles away.
In contrast, independent oncologists provide a very different treatment experience than what you receive in a hospital setting. Often patients can get a same-day appointment when they call, with virtually no time spent in a waiting room due to carefully scheduled appointments. Many independent cancer treatment centers also provide free transportation to and from appointments to alleviate this burden on patients and their family. Most importantly, it's the exact same treatment you would receive in a hospital setting and all providers are Board Certified as well. Plus you can continue to see whatever doctor you normally see, you are simply receiving your treatment where you choose.
Then there's the cost savings. For the exact same treatment, independent cancer treatment centers charge about one-fourth the cost of hospitals and provide the option to work with a lender with no fees and no interest for copays and deductibles. Treatment outside the hospital setting is usually less expensive because there are no hospital fees or facility fees. You pay only for the treatment you receive, not a building or overhead. By law hospital systems are able to charge you additional facility fees, hospital fees, and bill double the amount (or more) for the exact same services because they are an in-patient facility.
More than cost-savings alone, cancer patients should have the right to choose a provider who believes strongly in treating the entire person, not just the cancer. Community cancer treatment centers are deeply invested in each patient and have the capacity to really get to know them on a personal level. In fact, many staff are survivors, now thriving to help others.
If there is only one piece of advice that should be given to anyone who has just been diagnosed with cancer, it's to know that you have options for your treatment. Cancer is a huge deal and you want to take action fast, but you have time to take a breath, talk to multiple providers and get the answers you need to make a sound decision. Bring a family member or friend to your consultations and use them as a sounding board to find the best facility for you and your unique situation!
Dr. Douglas Colkitt is a board certified Radiation Oncologist. He attended University of Pennsylvania and simultaneously completed his MBA and his Residency at Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Colkitt's is the lead Radiation Oncologist at the Radiation Oncology Community Cancer Center (http://radiationoncologyonthepike.com/
Radiation Oncology Community Cancer Center