MedWatch Today: Financial Navigators Helping Cancer Patients at CCI

Med Watch Today

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is life-changing for not only the patient, but also for their family. Add in the financial obligations that usually come with treatment and it can all become overwhelming.

Financial navigator, Jessica Rivera’s office is one of Gary McCully’s more favorite parts of Community Cancer Institute. Rivera helps him figure out his insurance and if he qualifies for any financial assistance.

“I currently help patients navigate through any insurance barriers that they may have to care, ultimately optimizing their health insurance and giving the patients a full understanding of what their health insurance benefits are,” Rivera said.

A few years ago, Gary received chemotherapy for colon cancer and is dealing with a cancerous spot on his lung.  He went in for a second treatment and was waiting to do another scan.  He says the cancer diagnosis and treatment is stressful and on top of it, there are a lot of bills.

“I’ve gone through a lot of of finances that i had saved and intended to use for other things,” he said.

But since learning about the cancer institute’s financial navigator, Jessica has helped him maximize his insurance.

“The service that was explained to me and asked if i would like to see if i could qualify, I said anything would help and luckily I did qualify,” Gary said.

Jessica says if patients have Medi-Cal she can help them see if they qualify for a secondary or supplemental insurance.

“If a patient comes in and has no insurance then i would do an assessment and just see where they’re at financially and also see if they would qualify for like a hospital presumptive eligibility which is a program through Medi-Cal that would give them temporary coverage,” Rivera said.

Adding, their goal is to help every patient afford cancer treatment, “If a patient is going to start chemotherapy then i would help find financial assistance for either the infusion part, the medications, or if a patient is on oral chemo medication then I can help enroll them into different types of financial assistant programs or co pay assistant programs that would help alleviate those costs.”

Gary says Jessica has helped reduce his stress and he can focus on what’s most important–his health.

“They’re very communicative, they’re very intense about making sure you’re comfortable, that you know what’s happening, what’s going to be given to you, how long it’s going to take, when you get to leave,” Gary said.

“It’s very rewarding to be able to navigate a patient through their financial stresses and just seeing what options are available out there to them and being that support system for them and a point of contact even,” Rivera said.

For more information about what’s available to patients at the Community Cancer Institute, visit

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