UnitedHealth Will Cover Teen's Bone Cancer Procedure

In the hours leading up to a planned protest outside PacifiCare offices, the health insurance reversed its decision and decided to provide coverage for 17-year-old Nick Columbo to undergo an additional cancer procedure recommended by his doctors, provided the family finds a doctor to perform it. VP of PR for United Health Care, Tyler Mason, told me the coverage for the CyberKnife procedure was initially denied after three review boards, one at Stanford, the USC Cancer Center, and UNH’s California regulator, recommended against it because the cancer was too large, too involved with nerve endings and wrapped in nerves, and because of the potential side effects. Mason said that this information was omitted from the California Nurse’s website because they wanted to use the Columbo case as a political tool. The side effects include Nick needing to use a bag for his bowel movements and the skin on his tailbone falling off. When I asked if the bone cancer, Ewing’s sarcoma, could kill Nick, yes or no, Mason said, “It’s a very challenging situation, I’m not a physician.”

RELATED: PacifiCare Capitulates to Latest Patient Revolt [California Nurse’s Association]
PREVIOUSLY: Teen Being Murdered By UnitedHealth Spreadsheet

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