ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Before doctors could treat the tumor in Linda Boulange’s left breast, they told her they would have to remove the pacemaker, also implanted on the left side of her chest, at an out-of-state medical facility, “and put it somewhere else in my body—I guess they can put pacemakers on your abdomen.”
Then the retired school teacher got a second opinion from Dr. Sam Yi, of CCS, “Dr. Yi said ‘we are going to think out of the box and come up with a way to treat your left-sided cancer, and keep your pacemaker safe.’”
Now Linda and more than 500 other cancer patients might have to leave CCS Oncology to get their treatment, or bear the astronomical cost of paying for it themselves, now that Independent Health is dropping CCS Oncology from its network, effective January 1, 2017.
Dr. Yi is CCS Oncology’s CEO, and said Independent Health’s removal of CCS Oncology from their preferred network will harm their cancer patients, “How wrong that is for cancer patients to have to find new doctors who have never spoken to them, or met with them.”
The dispute is over controlling costs, with Independent Health citing cost analyses, that Yi takes exception to.
Independent Health released a written statement saying in part, they made “a strategic decision to move away from the inefficient and costly fee for service payment system, toward a network of select oncology specialists who have agreed to a value based reimbursement model.”
But if Independent Health follows through on the termination of Independent Health, in January, Linda Boulange only knows, she could end up going through more surgeries before she can receive radiation treatment.
“Another rough surgery to go through, and when you have had a couple of surgeries, you never opt for more.”
A spokesman for Independent Health said they are limited in what they can say on the record, since they are anticipating a lawsuit over their parting of the ways, and Dr. Yi confirmed CCS Healthcare is in the process of filing the civil action in the next two-to-three weeks if they can’t come to terms over costs.
CCS Oncology has set up a hotline to answer questions for its cancer patients who are Independent Health subscribers. It is called the Independent Health Dispute Hotline, and the number is 932-7779.