April 24, 2020
April 24, 2020
A survey was recently conducted by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) to understand the concerns of cancer patients who may be experiencing delays in care due to the coronavirus. Conducted over a two-week period, the survey captured the responses of 1,200 patients and survivors and provides insights into their experiences.
Respondents’ concerns over the virus were widespread. 50% of patients reported delays to their care, with 27% of those individuals in active treatment.
For those in active treatment, 13% said they didn’t know when their care would be rescheduled.
38% of patients said economic impacts brought on by the pandemic interfered with their ability to pay for care, with another third reporting concerns over whether they could access care at all, given the focus of treating those infected with the virus.
If you are a patient, survivor or caregiver seeking help, visit our website to learn about additional resources.
This week, Congress passed a $484 billion spending package, supplementing the provisions from the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Negotiations initially stalled as Republicans and Democrats were at odds over where the support should be directed. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pushed to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the fund providing loans to small businesses that have been affected by the pandemic, while Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wanted additional support for hospitals and testing.
After debate ended early Tuesday morning, a deal was struck—funding in the new package includes $310 billion for the PPP ($60 billion specifically for community banks and smaller lenders), $75 billion for hospitals, $25 billion for testing and $60 billion for emergency disaster loans and grants.
The combined $100 billion between the support for hospitals and testing services can help alleviate some of the pressure on the health care system and mitigate delays in care for cancer patients who are in active treatment and have reported concerns over whether they will have care at all.
Representatives Diana DeGette and Fred Upton also sought to add $26 billion to cover supplements for research grants and contracts, provide emergency relief to sustain research support personnel and base operating costs for core research facilities and fund additional graduate student and postdoc fellowships, traineeships, and research assistantships for up to two years. While this provision did not ultimately make it into the final version of the package, Representatives DeGette and Upton are hopeful they can move forward with other opportunities to fund this critical work.
The spending package will go to President Trump, who has signaled his support for the bill and is expected to sign it into law when it reaches his desk.
The Trump administration released guidelines for states on how they may reopen for business after their respective shelter-in-place orders are lifted. The guidance gives states a baseline for how they may safely return to work.
The guidance includes proposed “gating criteria” for states to reopen when they see the following:
If states meet the proposed criteria, the guidance provides additional metrics they could use to determine if it is safe to slowly open their economies, which the administration recommends doing in three phases.
The guidance is being met with criticism from some states, since it does not provide any assistance for testing and contact tracing, providing protective gear and increasing ICU beds in hospitals, or creating and implementing plans to protect health care providers, employees in high-risk facilities (such as nursing homes) and employees using mass transit. Given the immense pressure of maintaining services for their residents and the shortage of both protective equipment and tests for the virus, many states may not be able to adequately track the spread of the virus—which experts say is critical in order to slow the spread.
As states begin to plan for reopening, it is important for cancer patients to be cautious and take the steps necessary to protect themselves, as there is still a higher risk for people with cancer. If possible, continue to stay home until public health officials deem it safe to resume activities. Have a friend or loved one bring you supplies to limit your exposure. If you need to leave your home, wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose.
This is a developing story, and we will continue to provide updates.