Economy hits oncology hard

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More than half of oncology administrators cite financial issues as their greatest challenge, while 95 percent say the recession has negatively impacted their work, according to a survey conducted by the American College of Oncology Administrators (ACOA).

According to the survey, 59 percent of responding members of ACOA reported increases in patient requests for financial assistance or indigent care. Meanwhile, 45 percent of respondents noted the implementation of cost or budget cutting measures.

Conversely, roughly one-quarter of participants cited some positive economic effects, including a more competitive job applicant pool (27 percent) and improved employee retention (23 percent). "While the affect is a bit mixed, the negative clearly out-trumps any positive impact," explained Margaret A. O'Grady, president of ACOA.

ACOA is part of the American Academy of Medical Administrators, which is an association of multiple healthcare administrative disciplines that conducts education and develops standards for each. The organization is based in Des Plaines, Ill.