Beacon Oncology Nurse Advocates is a concierge cancer care company and has been offering personalized care management solutions to patients and their caregivers since 2012. The company is at the forefront of a new wave of consumer-driven healthcare as their seasoned oncology nurses and social workers provide customized expert guidance and advocacy services where and when it is needed most.
Their mission is to improve the cancer care experience by providing clinical clarity and advocacy while inspiring confidence for people affected by cancer.
These highly customizable services put the patient back at the center with in-depth oncology expertise by nurses and social workers who have been in the trenches for decades and understand the interconnected systems on how to improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs. As "a cancer care concierge company," Beacon Advocates is committed first and foremost to the patient, families and caregivers. By not needing to adhere to the typical limits of the 8 to 5 healthcare scenarios where doctors and other specialists are challenged by mandates to see so many patients per hour, Beacon Advocates provides the time and care it takes to listen and support clients at many interconnected levels.
About Lea Ann Biafora
Seven years ago, Lea Ann Biafora founded Beacon Oncology Nurse Advocates (Beacon Advocates) after working in the oncology field for ~30 years. Her experience in oncology spans across a variety of settings including community, academia, pharma, and insurance in a variety of roles ranging from clinical to administration in nursing, quality improvement, case management, project management, clinical strategy including population-based analytics and program development.
She has witnessed first-hand the spectrum of excellent, good, and inadequate care experiences. Even within the 'good care' scenario, there are many opportunities for improvement. The problem is driven by how our healthcare system is set up. Cancer care is centered around the payer, the healthcare setting, and the physician's knowledge and schedule. Too often, the patients' needs/wants are left unaddressed. Moreover, as many have experienced, individuals usually do not know what questions to ask or what or how to anticipate what will happen within their cancer journey.
She has created a model focused on improving the cancer care experience and clinical outcomes by delivering services tailored to meet their needs and wants to break down barriers. She believes that Beacon Advocates is successful because the individual living with cancer is viewed holistically – as a person not as a patient – finding out what is important to the individual, their client. They identify and then eliminate any barriers to excellent care by focusing on the specific disease and translating the science to manageable terms they help prepare individuals throughout their journey – providing questions to consider and insight into other potential treatment options including specific clinical trials available. Beacon Advocates understand how the disease can impact an individual’s work and life, and as such, help the clients work through all these issues.
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN)
- Certified Case Manager (CCM)
- Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ)
- Certificate in Hospital Patient Advocacy from the Professional Patient Advocate Institute
Lea Ann has committed her entire career to oncology nursing. When she looked to complete her Master’s in Nursing, she was encouraged to pursue healthcare administration by a nursing Dean at Simmons college who believed Lea Ann had the aptitude for looking at problems systematically and observed that she had a passion for quality, and as such,,, encouraged her to pursue healthcare administration.
Lea Ann took that advice seriously and blended her skill sets by: In addition to her applied experiences, Lea Ann has extensive academic training as a cancer patient advocate and business leader:
- Specializing in oncology nursing (infusion, clinical trials, in-patient, and out-patient settings).
- Learning the process of how to impact change through quality studies and control through an internship with Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
- Working as a clinical nurse specialist at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, developing clinical practice guidelines, quality initiatives, process improvement, and led organization-wide accreditation of bone marrow transplants and cellular therapies.
- Serving in hospital administration (case management/discharge planning, quality improvement, and staff development).
- Working insurance administration (managed and developed cancer case management and chronic disease management programs). She has worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Humana, Inc. as a clinical strategist, and Group Health Incorporated (GHI) in New York.
- Oncology Nursing Society (ONS)
- Case Management Society of America (CMSA)
- Alliance for Professional Health Advocates (APHA)
- National Association for Healthcare Advocate Consultants (NAHAC)
- Masters of Science in Health Care Administration, Simmons College
- Nursing, Emory College
- Associates in Nursing, Miami-Dade Community College
- Diploma, Jackson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing.
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Proudly serving Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.
Lea Ann Biafora, MS, RN, OCN, CCM, CPHQ
St. Petersburg, Florida
A Beacon Nurse Advocate provided an extremely helpful service at a time of shock and confusion for me and my family. Our nurse helped us prepare for life with cancer, carefully explaining prognosis, procedures and scenarios that we would experience . My mother was diagnosed with stage 3 thyroid cancer which came as a total shock to all of us. As the primary caregiver, I was attending all of her doctor’s appointments and surgeries, etc. Our nurse provided a notebook to keep everything organized which was most helpful. She assisted with getting the initial appointments with doctors at Moffitt and attended those appointments to make sure we understood what was being said and what to expect. Overall our nurse provided a wonderful service at a time of great importance where clarity and comfort was most needed. Her knowledge was invaluable as my learning curve was overwhelming at that time. I greatly appreciated her knowledge and compassion. She clearly knows the workings of the health care industry.
- Susan M, Tampa Bay Area. Family hired to help their mother navigate the healthcare system and cancer journey.
The day I was diagnosed with HER2 positive breast cancer was devastating. I was scared and uniformed and was referred to Beacon by a very dear friend. My nurse immediately made an appointment to meet with me in person. She gave me a step-by-step portfolio to help me keep track of all aspects of my medical care and expenses. She ordered copies of my medical record, reviewed all my blood tests, medical scans, biopsies and pathology reports, to monitor my diagnosis and progress. My nurse explained in detail the impacts of my metastatic disease and guided me through what to expect at each stage of my journey through chemotherapy and a mastectomy. When I was told that I was likely fixable but not curable, she was there to lean on, listen and give advice on second opinions and clinical trial options. She provided me with questions to ask my oncologist and surgeon before each critical appointment. Due to all her hard work, dedication, quality care and honesty, I was able to focus on my health and maintain a positive attitude towards beating this disease. I am still in chemotherapy but happy to say that I am currently cancer free. I would recommend Beacon Nurse Advocates to anyone who is diagnosed with breast cancer. My nurse at Beacon has gone above and beyond to help me get through this emotional and physical recovery process.
- Mickey L., Tampa Bay Area. A newly diagnosed women with a progressive form of breast cancer and needing navigation and advocacy support.
Beacon Advocates came into my life precisely when I needed to understand oncology medicine. We thought through questions to pose to medical oncologists, plus Lea Ann provided essential information and links that fit our family situation. I wholeheartedly recommend Beacon to help individuals and families to work through so many issues related to cancer -- questions to ask, treatments, medical professionals, etc. They are highly qualified, experienced and has one's best interest and outcomes in mind.
- Barbara M., Tampa Bay Area. A newly diagnosed individual looking to make informed decisions.
Beacon Oncology Nurse Advocates helped us through a very difficult time. My mother-in-law in Florida was having some serious health issues and was admitted to the hospital. They told her she needed to see an oncologist -- that she may have cancer. We live on the west coast and were not able to be there to help her and my father-in-law navigate all the appointments and information coming at them. I hired a Beacon nurse to help coordinate her medical records from various doctors and provide an assessment as to where she was medically. She attended doctor visits with them and provided support where we couldn't. I think the doctors actually appreciated her involvement as they were able to get a bigger picture of what my mother-in-law condition was over some period of time -- rather than focusing on one specific symptom. It was a huge burden lifted from our shoulders and we thank our Beacon nurse for her very kind and knowledgeable guidance.
- Mimi W.,Seattle, Washington. An out of state concerned family member looking for peace of mind.
My nurse advocate has been a great help to me working through my medical and financial issues. I have late stage breast cancer and have questioned if I am on the right course of treatment for my disease for me as I am not a fan of traditional medicine, and lean towards holistic medicine whenever possible. My nurse advocate understands my position and I do not feel judged. After we discussed my situation, I decided it might be in my best interest to seek a second opinion with another oncology team. She has helped put together a portfolio of my important papers to help keep me organized including questions to discuss with my new doctor before considering changing treatments. She has also been a great help with directing me financially, which is very important since I am unable to work presently. She has researched some of my options and has helped me gain additional financial resources. I trust her judgment and feel lucky to have someone who I can trust to go to with questions as they arise. I find Beacon Oncology's services to be an outstanding resource, and am happy to be a client.
- Jen P, Tampa Bay Area. A young mother of two needing to understand disease status, financial and treatment options.
Beacon Oncology Nurse Advocates came to my rescue just in time. As the only daughter who lives in close proximity to my mother, I was running myself ragged trying to keep up with oncologists' appointments and her everyday needs. We have a long term care policy but I did not know how to get my mother qualified to use it. My advocate got me in touch with an organization that could help us get through the steps of qualifying her to be able to use her policy. In addition, our nurse advocate reviewed the situation and let us know that Medicare could also provide assistance. In addition, she found out that we had been paying for a service for a year out of pocket that was actually a covered benefit, thereby saving us money. Their involvement has taken the pressure off of me; it helps to know that my mother is now being taken care of on a daily basis and that I am not the only caretaker involved. I only wish that this type of service had been offered to us in the beginning of her diagnosis to understand the course and results of the therapy that they are offered.
- Sandy S., Tampa Bay Area. A daughter looking for ways to eliminate barriers to access to care to allow her to focus on what is important – her mother.
I was initially contacted by my nurse advocate on Easter at a friend’s request. I was so surprised at her willingness to consult so quickly as I was starting chemo the next day. She has since then been totally available to me no matter what my needs have been. Without her help of organizing and explaining all the EOBs (explanation of benefits) and bills), and advocating as needed, I would be still sitting in a pile of papers hopelessly! As a nurse her help has been tremendous as she understands the medications, the treatments and side effects. She has given me a comfort level I would never have had without her expertise and made many helpful suggestions that have improved my understanding and self-care. In addition, my nurse advocate has been a strong advocate for me on insurance issues and has helped me understand and maximize reimbursement while making many calls to the insurance company clarifying and resolving issues….she made such a big difference in this whole big picture by empowering me.
- Anne L., Tampa Bay Area. A newly diagnosed woman needing support to further understand her treatment regimen and assistance with her high-deductible insurance plan - organization of bills and understanding her various options.
About the NCPC
The National Care Planning Council and its affiliated
members are dedicated to helping families recognize the need for long term care planning and to helping
implement that planning. Integrity, honesty, and a genuine concern for those who are in need of (or may need)
long term care are at the heart of our services.