The Breast Cancer Patient Education Act (BCPEA), passed by Congress in December 2015, is federal legislation aimed at improving awareness of certain rights afforded to breast cancer patients. The Women’s Health Care and Cancer Rights Act, enacted in 1998, requires health plans that provide coverage for breast cancer care to include coverage for breast reconstruction. However, many patients remain unaware of this right. The goal of the BCPEA is to help spread this information to breast cancer patients.
Patients Often Uninformed About Breast Reconstruction
Around 42 percent of women who undergo mastectomy subsequently undergo breast reconstruction, according to a study published August 2014 in JAMA Surgery. Researchers determined that many patients who did not receive breast reconstruction had not been properly informed about their options. According to the authors “our study suggests that room exists for improved education regarding the safety of breast implants and the effect of reconstruction on follow-up surveillance.”
The BCPEA addresses gaps in knowledge regarding breast reconstruction by requiring the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop an educational campaign to educate breast cancer patients about availability of and insurance coverage for breast reconstruction, as well as other options.
Breast Reconstruction at Breastlink
At Breastlink, we are committed to patient education. This includes informing patients about their options when it comes to breast reconstruction. As part of our multidisciplinary approach to breast cancer care, our board-certified plastic surgeons work alongside surgical oncologists and medical oncologists to ensure patients receive high-quality, compassionate care throughout their diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
We are excited that Congress has passed the Breast Cancer Patient Education Act, which should allow more patients to receive information about their right to insurance coverage for breast reconstruction. If you would like to learn more, please contact us.