The impact of cancer goes far beyond its physical effects. Many patients endure significant financial and personal hardships because of the exorbitant costs associated with cancer treatment. High cost-sharing requirements, especially for those who are uninsured or underinsured, as well as reduced income during and after treatment, can lead many to experience financial distress or toxicity—defined as the adverse impact on a patient’s well-being due to out-of-pocket healthcare costs related to cancer treatment.

In November 2016, the Michigan Cancer Consortium (MCC) held its annual meeting, during which the topics of financial toxicity and financial navigation were discussed. This discussion piqued the interest of health system representatives, who asked for more information about the need for financial navigation programs and how to develop and implement such programs. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, with members of the MCC Survivorship Workgroup, formed the Financial Navigation Subcommittee to address these questions. The subcommittee comprises hospital administrators, financial navigators, and members of the MCC Survivorship Workgroup. PSC worked with the subcommittee to develop a white paper to provide information on cancer prevalence and treatment costs, the effects of financial toxicity, current approaches to financial counseling, and comprehensive financial navigation as a promising practice that can provide benefits to patients and health systems. This paper also provides examples of successful financial navigation programs in cancer centers, hospitals, and health systems in and outside of Michigan to give those interested in implementing such programs a sense of the potential benefits for patients and health systems alike.

A copy of the full report is available below.