AABCP ups ante

Friday, January 24, 2014

HOUSTON – With all the pink, press and publicity breast cancer gets, you would think post-mastectomy services are well understood.

They are not, says Rhonda Turner.

“I have had conversations with various insurance officials, referral sources and people in CMS that truly show a lack of understanding,” said Turner, executive director of the American Association of Breast Care Professionals (AABCP). “And lawmaker town halls last fall really highlighted the fact that senators—male and female—don’t understand what the services are for.”

To that end, the nearly nine-year-old association will refocus its mission in 2014, beginning with a public awareness campaign of the products and services women need after cancer treatment. Turner plans to hold “mini summits” across the country to generate conversations with payers and other stakeholders, and survivors. 

Whether through policy language or insurance caps, benefits are slowly eroding, said Turner.

“People need to understand that when you cut prosthetic services, you cut post-mastectomy cancer services,” she said. “Whether that’s part of the overall economy or insurance trends, I don’t know, but more and more women are having to pay out-of-pocket.”

AABCP will also unveil a new logo and re-launch its website, and increase the level of professional education it offers. The association will continue to offer boot camps and has developed a package of seminars that address the issues facing women’s health providers, including billing, coding and regulatory changes, said Turner.

“Because of audits and regulations, there are people closing their doors and leaving entire areas without service,” she said. “We need to stem that tide.”