As part of ASCO’s ongoing effort to fully support all members of the cancer care team, it recently created three new member categories: Advanced Practice Providers, Practice Administrators, and Patient Advocates (see sidebar). Originally part of the Affiliated Health Professionals member category, these new categories allow ASCO to remain flexible in providing the most relevant and useful member services.
“Many people in these types of positions mistakenly believe that ASCO is an organization for physicians only, but our Affiliated member categories have been around for 20 years,” said Krista Barnes, ASCO’s Vice President of Member Services. “By creating these new categories for advanced practice providers, practice administrators, and patient advocates, we are able to provide a specialized home for new audiences within ASCO so that we can communicate with them directly and meet their specific needs and expectations from ASCO.”
Ms. Barnes added that ASCO is committed to building new programs and services to better meet the needs of these health-care professionals as the Society continues to advance its mission of promoting quality cancer care throughout the cancer care team.
New Category-Specific Resources
In March, ASCO announced a new certificate program designed for advanced practitioners who are entering oncology care settings. The program includes a series of courses developed with the Association of Physician Assistants in Oncology (APAO); the Advanced Practitioner Society for
Hematology and Oncology (APSHO); the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy
Association (HOPA); and Meniscus
Educational Institute (MEI) and is available on ASCO University®. Courses include:
Established in 2014 and staffed by national leaders in clinical oncology care and practice management, ASCO Clinical Affairs supports practicing oncologists, oncology administrators, and oncology practices in all settings across the United States—large and small community practices, hospital-based oncology departments and practices, and those in academic and research institutions. The Clinical Affairs team has been expanding ASCO’s programs, products, and resources and providing member benefits directly to practice administrators.
One of the ways it is reaching out is with the Oncology Practice Insider (OPI), a free, bimonthly eNewsletter designed to provide educational tools for the successful management of oncology practice and the delivery of high-quality patient care.
In the latest edition of OPI, practice administrator members could receive updates on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA); sign up for MACRA workshops; get information about participating in the 2016 ASCO Practice Census; learn about protecting patient personal health information; and more.
ASCO PracticeNET is another new program designed to support oncology practices and focus on the needs and education of practice administrators. ASCO PracticeNET is a learning collaborative where practices can share and receive insights to enhance their business operations and quality of care.
ASCO also provides a number of opportunities for patient advocates. For example, it has begun to expand programming for patient advocates at the Annual Meeting and other symposia. At the Annual Meeting, patient advocates have their own lounge, are invited to the President’s reception, and can visit the ASCO-sponsored patient advocacy booth. In addition, the Conquer Cancer Foundation Patient Advocate Scholarship Program provides scholarships for patient advocates to attend ASCO-sponsored symposia and the ASCO Annual Meeting, allowing advocates to promote their programs, services, and resources and meet and interact with other cancer-care professionals.
Commitment to All Members
In the end, continuing to focus on all members of the cancer-care team is another way that ASCO is providing value to its members.
“We want to make sure that we are servicing the entire cancer-care team for an overall outcome of improved care for patients,” Ms. Barnes said. “We have to work to continue to enhance the oncology practice by providing training, resources, and opportunities to all of the members of the oncology practice team.”
Current Affiliated Health Professional members who qualify for the new categories will be automatically transitioned over. If you fit into one of these categories, you should have received a communication letting you know about the change. Please call ASCO Customer Service at 888-282-2552 if you have any specific questions regarding your membership. To learn more about these new categories, visit http://www.asco.org/membership/member-benefits. ■
© 2016. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.