由 Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | July 06, 2018
From the July 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
HCB News: With the aging baby boomer population and Florida being a popular retirement destination, is there a challenge to staff up?
In terms of physicians, there are not enough projected medical oncologists to serve all the patients who might be in need – this isn’t just in Moffitt, but across the state and across the country. Part of it is what people go into for training, part of it is the growing need from the baby boomers. Cancer is more likely to be a disease for the elderly, so it will continue to be a challenge. Like other health professionals, we have our challenges, but not as much as other facilities might have in nursing or pharmacy for example.
HCB News: What are the biggest challenges facing your facility today?
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Probably every hospital administrator would talk about declining reimbursement. While I don’t disagree, you have to keep in mind where our income goes. It’s plowed back into research and that’s what our challenge is. Our ability to continue to fund research and therefore breakthroughs that will make a difference in people’s lives, I think is challenged by reduced reimbursement. I think we’ve so far been up to the challenge, but it becomes more difficult every year. We want to see more fundraising, more industry partnerships, things along those lines, but it’s an ever-increasing challenge that I worry about.
HCB News: Is part of the funding problem due to smaller, incremental improvements that new technologies bring rather than the enormous strides from say, the introduction of MR decades back?
I don’t think so. I’ll give you a good example, the CAR-T therapy I mentioned earlier; we’re very proud of it and is a great breakthrough, but it’s tremendously expensive. Drug companies have priced it at a very, very high level. It’s I think $470k for one therapy and $375k for another. That’s just the cost for that therapy and that doesn’t count the cost of hospitalization and follow-ups and all the other stuff. The criticism is that they’re recovering all of their costs off the patients and it doesn’t bear any relation to the cost of producing the drug for the patient. The fact is, what they would also say is that the cost to take any drug or therapy to market, with all the testing and reviews that need to happen, it’s a billion dollar expense and even then, there are cases where it doesn’t ultimately go to market. The time frame and cost it takes to bring a drug to market all have to be kept in mind. And then there’s a relatively narrow pipeline for those drugs. So that’s their challenge and it’s then part of our challenge.