Monday, May 30, 2016

Best Personalized Care™ in CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia)

I was asked to write one page about how our nonprofit CLL Society helped patients overcome friction points in their care. Here is what I came up with it.

The nonprofit CLL Society Inc. (CLLS) is dedicated to ensuring that all patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), the most common adult blood cancer, get their Best Personalized Care (BPC™).

BPC is vital because CLL is in fact many diseases, ranging from a lazy or indolent cancer that doesn’t shorten a patient’s life, to a well-behaved leukemia that responds obediently to treatment, and most menacingly, to a constantly mutating disorder that quickly destroys immunity and then kills.

Each unique case of CLL demands a different therapeutic approach.

Adding to this complexity is the rapidly changing therapeutic landscape with the multiple recent drug approvals, new guidelines, exciting clinical trials, and the heterogeneity of patients. CLLS understands how difficult it can be for each patient to get the BPC.

We have developed tools to help overcome common friction points in accessing the best care:

1.     Comprehensive current information: There is a lack of up-to-date knowledge in the medical and patient community. Despite being the most common blood cancer, it is still an orphan disease. Annually for each case of CLL, there are approximately 14 new breast cancer patients and 25 survivors and 14 new prostate cancer patients and 24 survivors. Busy community oncologists simply can’t keep up with the evolving and complex nuances of individualized care for the rare CLL patient.

2.     Expert contacts: Referral to true CLL experts for 2nd opinions and access to clinical trials can be difficult as physician networks are increasingly being narrowed. We provide links to top CLL doctors and help manage referrals.

3.     Insurance help and resources: Payors’ decisions may seem arbitrary and more determined by financial rather than clinical concerns. The appeal process demands a well-informed patient or advocate. We support patients and provide research and resources for their appeals.

4.     Self-advocacy tools: The best medications may be expensive, tricky to administer, and often need to be used very long term. Thus, their use may be subtly discouraged or not even offered by health plans and providers. Prior authorizations and tiered pharmaceutical benefits are further obstacles to best care. We provide information to help patients push for BPC and links to financial help.

5.     Compliance aids: New oral therapies put a premium on the patient’s adherence, persistence and understanding of how their medications work, effectively transferring responsibility from the provider to the patient who may need tools to help get the most out of their treatment. We have compliance tools to help track meds and labs.

The CLL Society, a patient driven, physician curated 501(c)3, is dedicated to the unmet needs of the CLL community. BPC for all is possible when patients are aware and active in their care because we believe that:

Smart Patients Get Smart Care

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