Letter to the Editor: Resident Has a Warning for Medicare Patients


Letter to the Editor:

I have an urgent warning to all Medicare cancer patients to watch out for how you are being billed, or about to be, by the local Burbank Oncology Clinic of Hope and Innovation, one of a chain of 47 corporate clinics throughout California. In June of 2018 I was informed by Lakeside Insurance, who administers my Medicare Part B policy, that I could no longer be treated by the doctor who had performed my life saving prostate cancer surgery and recovery program because only the OCHI clinic was thereafter approved for billing.
During my first visit to OCHI I was informed that the $135 copay charge I’d been paying for my cancer treatment injections every 90 days was being increased by 10 times to $1350 and that they were the only ones approved to be charged by Lakeside for it. After much arguing over the unfairness of this price-gouging scheme I made a formal request with Lakeside Insurance to have an in-person hearing where I could appeal the outrageous copay I had no option to avoid by using another oncology clinic. At that point OCHI backed off and offered to administer my medications at $50 per injection, with the first one at no charge if I would only drop the in-person hearing, which I agreed to in order to receive the balance of my cancer treatment.
In Jan 2023 I made a formal complaint of this abuse of Medicare patients by OCHI to my Burbank area Congressman, Adam Schiff, who sent me two letters assuring me his staff would look into this problem but so far have not heard back on any progress from them since, despite numerous phone conversations between his staff and myself on this.
I am now cancer-free and no longer in need of OCHI’s services but am concerned over their still having the exclusive approval for billing from Lakeside Insurance, which means they will be able to continue their price gouging of Medicare cancer patients if not monitored and opposed.
I can only hope that no other vulnerable Medicare cancer patients have had to endure what I did in 2018.
Doug Weiskopf
Editor’s Note: Information has been provided by the author and myBurbank takes no responsibility for the claims.