Supporting patients and their families in finding a second medical opinion for cancer surgery
Can you imagine having a potentially life-threatening illness and not having access to a second opinion?
Only 7* states in the US have laws protecting the right to access second medical opinions. That leaves people in 43 states without the peace of mind that a second opinion will be covered by their insurance plan. (*FL, IN, CA, LA, MO, NH, NY)
How do people with a cancer diagnosis find a second medical opinion?
Most people go through their primary doctor to find their first specialist. If you have a more common cancer such as breast or colon, the first specialist you see is usually a surgeon. If you want a second medical opinion, finding another surgeon is more challenging. Fortunately, there is a lot of evidence that links the number of cancer surgeries a surgeon or hospital performs with better outcomes. While important, this should not be the only factor to consider when deciding on a hospital or surgeon.
Where do I find information about how many cancer surgeries a hospital or surgeon has performed?
The evidence linking cancer surgery volumes and better outcomes is strong enough that Pennsylvania and California have mandated hospitals to share this data publicly. For Pennsylvania and California residents, you can find that here. Unfortunately, no other states publish data about how many cancer surgeries a hospital or surgeon performs. US News and World Report’s Best Hospitals for Cancer shares hospital surgery volume information for colon cancer and lung cancer surgery.
Why isn’t this information public?
All hospitals have this information, but choose not to make it public. This information can help people with cancer find the right hospital or doctor to achieve the best possible outcome. In some circumstances, it can be a matter of life or death! We have submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and discussed other options with medical professionals. Amulet Health is committed to making cancer surgery volumes data for all hospitals publicly available.
Contact Your Representative
Contact your local representative. Tell them that all states should protect the right to getting a second medical opinion. Tell them that information about cancer surgery volumes should be publicly available for everyone.
Share Your Data
Hospitals and surgeons- share your cancer surgery volumes with us.