Peoria Cancer Center keeps Medicare patients safe from Sequester cuts

By Alyssa Donovan

April 8, 2013 Updated Apr 8, 2013 at 6:48 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill.-- Sequester cuts are causing thousands of Medicare patients to be turned away from Cancer Care Centers, but a local cancer center is handling the cuts a little differently.

Two thirds of the patients being treated at the Peoria Cancer Center are on Medicare.

A 2% across the board sequester cut to Medicare is decreasing funding for physician services, laboratory services, nursing services and chemotherapy products.

While many cancer centers throughout the country are turning away Medicare patients to accommodate these cuts, the Peoria Cancer center is not.

President of Illinois CancerCare and Physician at the Peoria Cancer Center, Dr. Paul Fishkin M.D. said, "We're going to do our best to try to treat them here and continue even though we get a lesser payment we're going to still try and see them here."

Fishkin says it's too soon to tell how they will handle the cuts within the center; he just wants to make sure the patients are still taken care of. "We have a very large geographically based practice we treat people in rural areas we treat people in urban areas and we don't have the availability to send people to hospitals to receive chemotherapy services."

Fishkin believes the government should have been more selective instead of making cuts across the board. "In this situation they've chosen to not think things through at all and make just thoughtless across the board cuts and it puts in the middle of that people who have cancer and a receiving chemotherapy treatments for that."