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Patient Navigator Outreach and Chronic Disease Prevention Act of 2005

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Location: Washington, DC


PATIENT NAVIGATOR OUTREACH AND CHRONIC DISEASE PREVENTION ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - June 13, 2005)

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Mr. MATHESON. Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to share my remarks on H.R. 1812, the Patient Navigator Outreach and Chronic Disease Prevention Act. I rise in strong support of this important legislation.

H.R. 1812 would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to make grants for the development and operation of a pilot "patient navigator program." This demonstration project would provide Community Health Centers, National Cancer Institute centers, Indian Health Service centers, Rural Health Clinics, and other health providers with funding to help patients "navigate" what can often be a complicated and confusing health care system.

Under this legislation, patient navigators would help individual patients and their families overcome obstacles to the prompt diagnosis and treatment of their diseases by helping them understand the processes for receiving medical care and insurance, helping them coordinate referrals between different providers and specialists, helping them identify and possibly enroll in life-saving clinical trials, and even helping them manage their treatment plans.

The bill ensures that particular attention is paid to patients with significant barriers to high-quality health care services including those who are geographically isolated, those with cultural or linguistic barriers, and the uninsured. In their endorsement of this important legislation, the American Cancer Society noted that despite notable advances in prevention interventions, screening technologies, and high-quality treatments, a disproportionate burden of cancer falls on the uninsured, those who live in rural areas, and minority and other medically underserved populations. These populations have higher risks of developing cancer and poorer chances of early diagnosis, optimal treatment, and survival.

I believe that this pilot project will be helpful in providing patients with much-needed information. As receiving a diagnosis of cancer or another chronic disease can be overwhelming for an individual and their family members, this pilot project should ensure that information is available in an accessible, understandable format. I encourage my colleagues to support this legislation.

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