Past Announcements

October 2019

Patients Need Protection From Surprise Medical Bills, Organizations Tell Congress
In a letter to leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, ASCO, along with more than 100 other medical groups, urged Congress to protect patients from unanticipated, or “surprise,” medical bills that can occur when gaps in health insurance coverage lead them to receive care from out-of-network providers.

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Nearly 60% of Blood Cancer Patients Covered by Medicare Delay or Forgo Treatment
Survival of older patients with blood cancers continues to improve as more effective, less toxic therapies are introduced. However, these lifesaving treatments often are expensive and many cancer patients face financial burdens caused by ever-increasing healthcare costs. In fact, according to a new study released October 21st by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), 59 percent of surviving blood cancer patients enrolled in traditional Medicare do not begin active treatment within three months of their diagnosis.

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United Health and Optum 'Uniting Care and Coverage' in New Model
UnitedHealth Group and its Optum medical care provider business are rolling out a combined package of medical care and health insurance as they meld health benefits with the provision of healthcare services.

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New Survey Seeks Provider Input on Clinical Trial Enrollment
ASCO is participating in a joint initiative from the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network in conjunction with the Association of Community Cancer Centers and the Oncology Nursing Society.  Click below to access the survey.

Click here for the survey

Walmart to Measure Doctor Quality in Local Markets
Walmart is rolling out an effort to measure the quality of community doctors who treat tens of thousands of its employees in the retailer’s latest effort to make sure its workers get the right care, in the right place and at the right time.

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Educate and Support Your Patients with ASCO Answers Materials
Recently, State Affiliate presidents and executive directors received a mailing from Cancer.Net that included patient education materials that you and your members may find useful. These materials, along with additional resources that can be found on Cancer.Net give your patients ASCO-approved information on diagnosis, treatment, side effects, and psychosocial effects of cancer.  The ASCO Answers series includes fact sheets, booklets on specific topics in cancer care, and comprehensive, patient-friendly guides. These easy-to-read materials cover breast cancer, colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer, prostate cancer, cancer survivorship, caregiving, palliative care, managing cancer-related pain, advanced cancer care planning, and much more.  ASCO members save 20 percent.  All orders include free domestic shipping. 

Order printed copies online at the ASCO Store.

September 2019

Could Biosimilars Be Integrated into Alternative Payment Models?
Michael Kolodziej, MD, Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at ADVI Health, Inc, addresses the role that biosimilars will have in alternative payment models in oncology.

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Cancer Pain Predicted by Lower Anxiety and Depression, Higher Social Support
A new study from the Levine Cancer Institute finds that patients with cancer who report higher levels of anxiety and depression experience more intense pain associated with their diseases.

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Report: Progress in Global Cancer Fight is Not Only Possible, but Achievable
The Cancer Atlas, 3rd edition, a comprehensive global overview of cancer around the globe, concludes that progress in the fight against cancer is not only possible, but achievable.

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CMS to Collect 340B Drug Cost Information

The CMS issued a notice on September 26th that it will collect information from hospitals participating in the 340B drug discount program about the prices they pay for eligible drugs.

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Cancer Drugs Account for 27% of All New Drug Approvals in the US
Cancer drugs currently account for 27% of all new drug approvals in the United States since 2010, a dramatic increase from the 4% share of the 1980s, a newly completed analysis from the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development shows.

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New Technology Add-on Payment: Impact on CAR T-cell Therapy Reimbursement
On August 2, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) final rule for fiscal year (FY) 2020.

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CMS Expands CAR T-cell Therapy Coverage for Medicare Beneficiaries
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that Medicare will now cover all Food and Drug Administration-approved Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR T-cell) therapy delivered in inpatient facilities.  This nationwide Medicare coverage increase for CAR T-cell therapy also opens the door for patients to receive treatment in outpatient health care facilities that are enrolled in FDS risk evaluation and mitigation strategies with expertise in delivering cellular therapies, and covers CAR T-cell therapy for off-label uses that are recommended by CMS-approved compendia.

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Economic Cost of Cancer in U.S. Tops $94B Annually According to a Study
State-by-state variations in cancer deaths suggest that effective cancer prevention and treatment could yield economic benefits, according to a study published in JAMA Oncology.

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Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2019 

Society of Utah Medical Oncologists is proud to have joined with hundreds of other health organizations to support the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2019 (H.R. 3107) recently introduced by Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Roger Marshall, MD (R-KS), and Ami Bera, MD (D-CA).

Read the letter here.

Denial Rates and Days to Pay for Cancer Drugs: Commercial Health Plan Report Card

Office-administered oncology drugs given in the community setting face stiff reimbursement challenges when billing commercial plans; while Medicare has emerged as the gold standard for both predictable payment and timeliness.

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ASTRO releases updated radiation oncology safety guide

In conjunction with Patient Safety Awareness Week, the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) published an update today to its framework for safe and effective radiation therapy treatment. The comprehensive reference guide, Safety is No Accident: A Framework for Quality Radiation Oncology and Care, is available for download.

 

CDC Issues Key Clarification on Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain
Agency Clarifies CDC Guideline Not Meant to Limit Access to Appropriate Pain Management for Individuals with Cancer, Sickle Cell Disease

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 August 2019

 

Two Cancer Research Organizations Submit Recommendations to FDA Aimed at Reducing Barriers to Clinical Trial Participation
On August 8, ASCO and Friends of Cancer Research (Friends) submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended language for five guidance documents on ways to broaden eligibility criteria for cancer clinical trials. The recommendations are part of an ASCO and Friends collaboration to broaden eligibility for participating in clinical trials by addressing five specific areas: minimum age requirements for trial enrollment, HIV/AIDS status, brain metastases, organ dysfunction, and prior and concurrent malignancies.

Click here for more.

 

When a patient’s health insurance plan denies your request for prior authorization (PA) or coverage for a medication, you may submit an appeal. When submitting an appeal to a patient’s health insurance plan, including an Appeal Letter can help explain the rationale and clinical decision-making behind the choice of a specific therapy.

This guide will assist you in composing an Appeal Letter for your patients who have been prescribed a Genentech medicine. You can also access this guide, as well as any enclosures necessary for completing an Appeal Letter, in the Forms and Documents section of Genentech-Access.com.

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Apply for ASCO’s Health Policy Leadership Development Program

Applications are now open for the 2019-2020 ASCO Health Policy Leadership Development Program (HP-LDP). Formerly the Health Policy Fellowship Program, the HP-LDP is a one-year program that provides an opportunity for ASCO members to develop expertise in health policy, advocacy, and grassroots activity.

The HP-LDP is open to all ASCO members in the United States who completed their final subspecialty training between 2009 and 2014.

Click here for more.