Parker County Today May 2018 - Page 38

The Importance of Political Advocacy to Protect Cancer Patients Doctors Who Care “There is nothing more important to me as a physician than your cancer treatment. I’ve been in practice for over two decades and have had the privilege of telling many patients that there is life beyond cancer. As president of The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, I want to lead by example, practicing a firm belief that all patients should receive the finest medical care available, with the same concern and compassion as a cherished member of the family.” Ray Page, D.O., Ph.D. President and Medical Oncologist The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders I just want to mention a few points that I spoke about at the COA conference. First of all, not everybody is cut out for political advocacy, and that is OK! To be fully engaged it takes long, hard, difficult, and tedious work. Further, it can often take years of effort, with compro- mises, in order to achieve your goals. However, to start an advocacy movement it only requires ONE person in a practice or group. That person just needs to get one other person engaged in the movement and you are off and running. You can really get a lot done with just a small number of committed people, as they will represent a large practice or bigger organization. With that being said, without a doubt, the most important person on the cancer advocacy team is the actual cancer PATIENT. When you have a cancer patient who is a constituent to the congressmen and makes a visit to tell a compelling personal story, it is then that political action has a chance. When a cancer patient is face to face and says “as a result of our laws, I am being harmed, I cannot get access to lifesaving care, I cannot afford my drugs, I am being financially devastated” or “I had to LITERALLY sell the farm to get the cancer care I needed” – THAT is what moves our lawmakers. At The Center we are very excited about adding engaged patients with compelling stories to our advocacy team. Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. -St. Francis of Assisi Schedule appointments by calling 817-596-0637 or online at Support services provided by: To learn more about cancer care issues or to consult with a physician about a cancer diagnosis, contact us at 817.596.0637. There was a time when just about everyone had a regular family doctor who treated just about everything from headaches and broken arms to menopause and arthritis. Today, most of us still have regular family physicians, but the majority of people see specialists for any special health challenges. The result? Patients these days are more discerning, better educated and more astute than ever before. They know finding the best doctor for their specific health challenges and needs can lead to greater quality of life and often even a longer one. Peruse our healthcare section and find the doctor who is the perfect fit for your medical needs. Healthcare Special Section We are very excited at The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, as we recently became the first community oncology practice in Texas to establish a COA Patient Advocacy Network (CPAN). We had a very successful launch at our main cancer center in Fort Worth. Many pa- tients were interested and engaged about getting into advocacy efforts. We sent 3 of our patients - Tami Ramey, Terry Purdom, and Holly Lawson – with me to Washington. Along with Amanda Hodges and John Clagg, they visited the offices of John Cornyn, Kay Granger, Mike Burgess, and Joe Barton. They spoke specifically about cancer patient issues such as drug prices and access to care. Swaying politicians and policymakers into creating and endorsing new favorable laws, particularly in our federal congress, is an ex- tremely arduous and frustrating process. It seems nothing ever moves quickly or in the direction that you desire. Often, as a physician leader, it seems that it makes no difference how credentialed, accom- plished and knowledgeable a person is. You can provide overwhelm- ing data, statistics, publications, projections, and examples until the point of exhaustion and, yet, there is only a palpable nudge that you made the connection. Welcome to Parker County Today’s 36 In April, I was at the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. where I gave a presentation on “Advocacy 101: What we stand for”. 37