Lifetime Television Leads Effort to End 'Drive-Through Mastectomies' (dateline August 21, 2005)
Lifetime Television has been gathering signatures in an effort to help end "drive through mastectomies." To try to reduce the cost of inpatient healthcare costs, many insurance companies have been requiring that breast cancer patients be released from the hospital soon after their breasts are removed, sometimes within hours of the procedure. Lifetime, along with several consumer organizations and breast cancer survivors, feel strongly that women need adequate in-hospital care after major surgeries such as mastectomy.
According to Lifetime, in 2005, U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (Maine) and Mary L. Landrieu (Lousianna) and U.S. Representatives Sue Kelly (New York) and Rosa DeLauro (Connecticut) introduced The Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2005.
"This legislation would give women and their doctors the option of at least a 48-hour hospital stay after a mastectomy," Mary Dixon, Vice President of Public Affairs and Advocacy for Lifetime, told Imaginis.com. Lifetime has been involved in this effort since 1996. To date, Lifetime has gathered more than 11 millions signatures on its online petition to end drive through mastectomies.
In the 1990s, the U.S. government prohibited Medicare patients from receiving drive-through mastectomies. However, insurance companies still have the authority to interfere with doctors' recommendations and require shorter hospital stays. The new legislation would be aimed at ending this practice.
"In no circumstance should women be forced out of the hospital too quickly after a major procedure-both medically and emotionally-such as a mastectomy. Medical decisions should be based on facts, people and circumstances, not cookie-cutter insurance guidelines," said Senator Landrieu, in a February 2004 Lifetime news release.
In addition to Lifetime, supporters of this legislation include the American Medical Association; American College of Surgeons; American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons; Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses; National Council of Jewish Women; Society for the Advancement of Women's Health Research; Susan G. Komen Foundation; Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization; and Families USA.
To learn more about Lifetime's effort to end drive-through mastectomies or to sign the petition, please visit http://www.lifetimetv.com/reallife/bc/pledges/bc_mast_pledge.html