July 3, 2018

Cancer Care Casualties

This post was last updated on September 10, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.
On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Florida is losing affordable treatment options to help meet its tremendous cancer care need.

The state is a teeming cancer care marketplace, as roughly 1.1 million Floridians are living with the disease, according to the Florida Department of Health, citing data from the Florida Cancer Registry. That's about 1 in 20 residents, based on the state's population of 21 million.


Over the past two years, Florida has seen 47 community cancer clinics close, the highest number in the nation. It's followed by Texas with 43 and Michigan with 36, according to the 2018 Community Oncology Alliance Practice Impact Report.

That may be irrelevant to people with the means to get into well-regarded places like the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa – the only Florida-based facility with a coveted designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.

But the closings hold much more significance for indigent patients and their advocates, says Anne Swerlick, an attorney and health analyst for the nonprofit Florida Policy Institute in Lake Mary, north of Orlando [emphasis added].

"When something like this happens, we're making it so there's fewer places people can access care. Low-income people are more vulnerable and more victims of the marketplace because they have the least number of options," she says. [Noreen Marcus for U.S. News & World Report]


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