Patients prefer face-to-face conversations about cost of care before surgery, study says

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Patients prefer to have in-person discussions about cost of care before their procedures, according to a study presented at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress.

Researchers surveyed 17 patients with head and neck cancer over a period of five to 14 months after their surgery. They answered questions on financial distress. About 47 percent of the patients had an annual income under $50,000, seven patients had private insurance, seven had Medicare, and three had Medicaid or were uninsured.

Patients who had Medicaid or were uninsured had the most financial toxicity. These patients wanted full financial breakdowns of the treatment before their procedure more than other patients did.

All patients preferred discussing costs before treatment, but had mixed feelings around surgeons initiating the conversation. Most preferred discussing cost of treatment with insurance representatives or hospital-employed financial advisers.

The conference took place Oct. 3-7, 2020, and General Surgery News reported on the study Feb. 9.

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