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When a patient starts treatment at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), the last thing they should be concerned about is their medication working properly and its cost.
Medication access coordinator (MAC) technicians are here to ease those worries, acting as a liaison between pharmacies and patients, while also serving as an advocate if a problem arises.
“We make sure patients receive the medicine they need for their specific diagnosis,” says HCI MAC tech Shawn Newton. “Our 10-person team is split by clinic, so we each follow a certain discipline—hematology, myeloma, bone marrow transplants, the breast clinic. All the clinics in the cancer hospital have a MAC to make sure patients have access to the right medicine.”
When someone receives a diagnosis of cancer, there's a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. The specific role of a MAC tech is to ensure patients receive access to the best drug for the lowest price.
“It is really hard to tell someone their prescribed medicine is very expensive. We do not want our patients to have substandard care because they cannot afford it. We educate patients on the pros and cons of each medicine or therapy and they even meet with a financial advocate to pick what works best for them.”
MAC techs also help patients with insurance claims.
“Our team is responsible for getting prior authorizations and making sure patients have access to their medications through their insurance. If that's not possible, we work with various third-party programs, foundations, and patient assistance programs from drug manufacturers to try and obtain medication coverage.”
MAC techs are passionate about their jobs. Their human touch helps ease tension that many cancer patients feel by advocating for HCI’s patients when coverage circumstances are difficult.
“I would like people to know that we're here to do everything we can to ensure patients get the medications they need,” Shawn says.