Why You Should Ask Your Doctor About Principal Care Management

A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event.  The diagnosis alone is daunting and then suddenly you are faced with difficult decisions – decisions that may affect your care and quality of life.  

Cancer is a 24/7 diagnosis, it affects daily life and routines.  Symptoms and side effects present themselves on their own schedule, not necessarily when it is convenient for you.  Recognizing the need to provide additional patient support, many oncology clinics utilize care navigation nurses and have initiated care management programs such as Principal Care Management (PCM) and Chronic Care Management (CCM).  These programs offer a high-touch care experience to participating patients.  They are designed to provide an extra layer of support outside of your regularly scheduled in-person or treatment visits with your clinician.  Care management programs, such as PCM, improve patient overall health and reduce emergency room and hospital visits, by making it easier for patients to access their care team, and manage their symptoms to effectively stay on treatment.

PCM Enables Proactive and Beneficial Communications with your Care Team

PCM is designed to help you remain on therapy through more frequent communications with your care team to assist with necessary treatment interventions when needed — not just at your next appointment.  PCM services are often provided in the communication form you prefer such as email or text messages.  You will be able to send pictures or upload documents to your patient portal to further assist your remote conversations with your care team.  

During treatment, you may experience symptoms that seem less severe but could worsen over time without additional symptom management resources. With PCM, your care team is able to proactively monitor your symptoms and equip you with necessary resources to appropriately manage your care from the comfort of your home.  Depending on your preferences, your care team may reach out to you to check in, provide medication reconciliation services, or help set up home or community based care services.   

Care Tailored to You and Your Needs

Discussions with your care team may also include understanding medication changes and associated side effects, as well as recognizing signs that further medical attention may be necessary.  PCM also includes helping with transitions of care, for example following surgery or treatment, and assisting with setting up follow-up appointments with specialists. Care management nurses can provide valuable coaching and encouragement to help you through your treatment and manage your cancer.  

PCM includes the development of a personalized care plan created with your care team. Your care plan is specific to your diagnosis, treatment, lifestyle, and care needs. Care plans may need to evolve throughout your treatment process which further highlights the importance, and benefit, of joining a care management program. As part of PCM, your care team actively monitors your care plan and updates the plan as your personal care journey evolves.

With more attention spent on health management, patients experience an improved quality of life with an anticipated reduction in healthcare costs.  PCM services are covered by Medicare, with typical cost sharing requirements (e.g. deductible and co-pays); however, these costs may be covered by Medicaid, Medigap or supplemental insurance.  Participating in a care management program, such as PCM, may help you avoid more costly services in the future by helping you and your practice better manage your care prior to an emergency.

Talk with your clinician to determine if Principal Care Management is right for you.

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