Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's all in the Genes

Cancer treatment continues to be an expensive and difficult proposition. One of the main challenges is the diagnosis itself, and of course treatment protocols run a large gamut. One particularly promising avenue has been the use of genetic testing in determining a particular cancer's origin. This kind of testing is often (generally?) excluded from coverage under most health insurance plans (and perhaps rightly so, but that's another post).

But this may be changing. I recently received an email from Ed Stevens of Pathwork Diagnostics, a "privately held molecular diagnostics company focused on oncology." They've been working with SelectHealth (a nonprofit health insurer) to find better ways to help folks identify primary tumors.

In the event, SelectHealth has apparently become the first carrier to cover Pathworks' new "Tissue of Origin Test." This is significant because better diagnostics can mean better outcomes, which is beneficial both to the insured and the insurer.

In related news, the test has now also been approved for coverage under Medicare, a first for this type of test. Potentially life-saving good news for seniors.
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