Assessment of financial screening and navigation capabilities at National Cancer Institute community oncology clinics
JNCI Cancer Spectrum
Cancer-related financial hardship is a side effect of cancer diagnosis and treatment, and affects both patients and caregivers. Although many oncology clinics have increased financial navigation services, few have resources to proactively provide financial counseling and assistance to families affected by cancer before financial hardship occurs. As part of an ongoing randomized study testing a proactive financial navigation intervention, S1912CD, among sites of the National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), we conducted a baseline survey to learn more about existing financial resources available to patients and caregivers. Methods: The NCORP sites participating in the S1912CD study completed a required 10-question survey about their available financial resources and an optional 5-question survey that focused on financial screening and navigation workflow and challenges prior to starting recruitment. The proportion of NCORP sites offering financial navigation services was calculated and responses to the optional survey were reviewed to determine current screening and navigation practices and identify any challenges. Results: Most sites (96%) reported offering financial navigation for cancer patients. Sites primarily identified patients needing financial assistance through social work evaluations (78%) or distress screening tools (76%). Sites revealed challenges in addressing financial needs at the outset and through diagnosis, including lack of proactive screening and referral to financial navigation services as well as staffing challenges. Conclusions: Although most participating NCORP sites offer some form of financial assistance, the survey data enabled identification of gaps and challenges in providing services. Utilizing community partners to deliver comprehensive financial navigation guidance to cancer patients and caregivers may help meet needs while reducing site burden.
Bell-Brown A, Watabayashi K, Delaney D, et al. Assessment of financial screening and navigation capabilities at national cancer institute community oncology clinics. JNCI Cancer Spectrum. 2023;7(5). DOI:10.1093/jncics/pkad055. PMID: 37561111