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Health-Care Policy
Pain Management

ASCO Addresses New Policies That Threaten Access to Opioids

Since the mid-2000s, medication and illicit drug abuse in the United Sates has steadily increased, creating what has now been termed an “opioid epidemic.” In response, Congress and the Bush and Obama Administrations have launched intervention and regulatory proposals to help turn the troubling...

Issues in Oncology
Survivorship
Health-Care Policy

Timing Is Everything

In 1959, my 5-year-old cousin, Kim, was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). As an 8-year-old, I didn’t really understand what was happening to him, except that he had to go to the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana, for treatment. The haunting vision of his looking...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Releases Principles for Patient-Centered Health-Care Reform

ASCO has released the “ASCO Principles for Patient-Centered Health-Care Reform,” seven recommendations designed to ensure access to high-quality cancer care amid the changing U.S. health-care delivery landscape. The principles aim to assist the new Congress and Administration, so, as they consider...

Health-Care Policy

How ASCO’s New Health Policy Fellowship Program Is Helping Shape Future Cancer Care Policy

In October 2015, ASCO launched the Health Policy Fellowship program to help the next generation of oncologists with an interest in health policy to develop the skills and experience necessary to achieve their goals and shape cancer care policy in an increasingly complicated and diverse care...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

ASCO’s State Affiliate Council: Helping Practices to Meet the Challenges Ahead

ASCO’s State Affiliate Council serves as an advisory group to ­ASCO’s Board of Directors on issues relating to its State/Regional Affiliates and their members, and serves as a vehicle for effective communications between the Board and domestic membership. The Council is made up of physician...

Health-Care Policy

Oncology Drug Approvals in 2016

In 2016, the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a number of new molecular entities, indications, and tests. The most notable were drug approvals in disease areas such as non–small cell lung cancer, myeloma, head and neck cancer, and...

health-care policy
issues in oncology

ASCO Releases Principles for Patient-Centered Health-Care Reform

ASCO has released the “ASCO Principles for Patient-Centered Health-care Reform,” seven recommendations designed to ensure access to high-quality cancer care amid the changing U.S. health-care delivery landscape. The principles aim to assist the new Congress and Administration, so, as...

Health-Care Policy

Oncology Organizations Applaud Passage of the 21st Century Cures Act

On Tuesday, December 13, President Obama signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act, landmark legislation designed to improve and accelerate the pace of biomedical research in the United States. ASCO Chief Executive Officer Clifford Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO, attended the White House signing ceremony ...

Health-Care Policy

Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act: The Final Rule

It is gratifying to see the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) does listen to public comments regarding new proposals. Since CMS opened the comment period for its Quality Payment Program, which repeals the Sustainable Growth Rate Formula and was proposed to implement the Medicare...

health-care policy
issues in oncology

Having a Child With Cancer May Adversely Affect Parents’ Income and Employment

Having a child with cancer led to income reductions for parents and job discontinuation among mothers in a recent study, even after adjusting for prediagnosis sociodemographic factors. Published by Norberg et al in Cancer, the findings indicate that childhood cancer affects parents' income and...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

The Future of Health Care in America: Which Corridor?

It was mid-morning, and I was walking along one of the long corridors in our hospital, attending to clinical duties. From a distance, I noticed this elderly couple walking in the opposite direction. As we got closer, it became obvious that the elderly gentleman appeared winded and was looking...

Legislation
Health-Care Policy

Apply for ASCO Health Policy Fellowship to Improve Skills Needed to Shape Cancer Policy

ASCO is now accepting applications for its prestigious Health Policy Fellowship, a 1-year fellowship opportunity designed to give early-career oncologists the unique skills necessary to monitor and shape the regulatory and legislative policies that directly affect the practice environment and...

Health-Care Policy

Practices Provided Concrete Path Toward Alternative Payment System

Earlier this month, ASCO announced it has collaborated with Innovative Oncology Business Solutions, Inc (IOBS) to launch ASCO COME HOME, a patient-centered oncology medical home, to help transition community oncology practices from volume-based care to value-based care and to prepare oncologists to ...

Health-Care Policy

AMA Statement on the Future of Health-Care Reform

“The AMA House of Delegates, reflecting more than 170 state and specialty medical societies from across the country, today reaffirmed its commitment to health care reform that improves access to care for all patients. “Using a comprehensive policy framework that has been refined over the past 2...

Health-Care Policy

CDC Recommends Only Two HPV Shots for Younger Adolescents

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended that 11- to 12-year-olds receive 2 doses of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine at least 6 months apart rather than the previously recommended 3 doses to protect against cancers caused by HPV infections. Teens and young adults who ...

Health-Care Policy

How ASCO Is Preparing Members for MACRA

On October 14, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its final policy on what physicians need to do to begin implementing the Quality Payment Program outlined in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 ­(MACRA). The Quality Payment Program is a...

gynecologic cancer
health-care policy

CDC Recommends Only Two HPV Shots for Younger Adolescents

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended that 11- to 12-year-olds receive 2 doses of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine at least 6 months apart rather than the previously recommended 3 doses to protect against cancers caused by HPV infections. Teens and young adults who ...

Cost of Care
Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Affordable Care Act Increased Access to Cancer Care and Clinical Trial Participation Among Hispanics in California

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act may have led to a significant increase in the number of Hispanic breast cancer patients treated in California at a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center. Further, there was also an increase reported in the number of Hispanic women who...

Health-Care Policy

NIH Expands National Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced awards to add four regional medical center groups to the national network of health-care provider organizations that will implement the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program. Combined, the new health-care provider organizations will...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy
Survivorship

Why Curing Cancer Will Take Decades

This past summer, Eric S. Lander, PhD, President of the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, raised a few eyebrows at the Aspen Ideas Festival when he...

health-care policy
issues in oncology

COA Releases 2016 Community Oncology Practice Impact Report

The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) released the 2016 Community Oncology Practice Impact Report today, which tracks the changing landscape of cancer care in the United States. It documents a 121% increase in community cancer clinic closings and a 172% increase in consolidation into hospitals...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

AACR’s Cancer Progress Report Hails Research Advances and Details Challenges Ahead

Although research advances in more effective therapies and diagnostics and improved screening technology over the past 2 decades have led to a 23% reduction in the cancer death rate in the United States, saving nearly 2 million lives,1 cancer remains the second leading cause of death after heart...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

FDA Takes Action Against 55 Tobacco Retailers for Selling Newly Regulated Products to Minors

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on September 15 that it has taken action against 55 tobacco retailers by issuing the first warning letters for selling newly regulated tobacco products—such as e-cigarettes, e-liquids, and cigars—to minors. These actions come about a month after ...

health-care policy
issues in oncology

Vice President Biden Announces New Steps to Improve Clinical Trials Essential to Advancing the Cancer Moonshot

Today, Vice President Joe Biden announced a series of new steps focused on increasing access to information about clinical trials and improving the efficiency of our clinical research system. These steps include making it easier for participants to find clinical trial opportunities as quickly as...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy
Legislation

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Report Shows States Are Making Progress Implementing Policies to Reduce Toll of Cancer

While a majority of states are still missing important opportunities to pass and implement legislative solutions proven to prevent and fight cancer, progress is being made to move the nation closer to ending cancer as we know it, according to a report recently released by the American Cancer...

health-care policy
issues in oncology

Researchers Question Process for Reviewing Coverage of 'Off-Label' Cancer Drug Use

A group of University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers is calling for an overhaul of the process that determines which cancer drugs used off-label—or beyond their approved use—are reimbursed by federally funded health insurance in the United...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Six Perspectives on the Cancer Moonshot Goal of Making 10 Years of Progress in 5 Years

The Cancer Moonshot initiative is bringing together scientists, oncologists, patient advocates, and representatives of the biopharmaceutical industry with renewed collaborative focus and the ambitious objective of consolidating 10 years of cancer research in 5 years. Achieving this outcome will...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

AACR Holds Congressional Briefing to Reiterate Moonshot Goals and Plans

“We are in an era of unprecedented scientific opportunities in cancer research,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), Executive Officer, American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), as she introduced the Congressional briefing, “Seizing Today’s Opportunities to Accelerate Cancer Research.” “Thanks ...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

How the Oncology Center of Excellence Plans to Foster Collaboration Among Researchers to Advance Cancer Treatment

On June 29, 2016, Robert M. Califf, MD, MACC, the Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), announced the selection of Richard Pazdur, MD, FACP, as Acting Director of the FDA’s newly created Oncology Center of Excellence. The center was created in response to the overarching...

health-care policy
issues in oncology

New American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Report Shows States Are Making Progress Implementing Policies to Reduce Toll of Cancer

Although a majority of states are still missing important opportunities to pass and implement legislative solutions proven to prevent and fight cancer, there is progress being made to move the nation closer to ending cancer as we know it, according to a report recently released by the American...

Health-Care Policy

Photonics and the Cancer Moonshot Initiative: Partnership Highlights Role of Technology and IT Infrastructure in Reaching Goals

Photonics—the science of light—may not be associated with cancer in most people’s minds. But photonic technologies are: CT (computed tomography) scans and digital x-rays, for instance, are in everyday use, and next-generation oncology applications are in development. As the White House’s National...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Moonshots and ‘Onco-nauts’

Where were you on July 20, 1969? I certainly remember where I was—sitting in a mess hall at summer camp watching a grainy black-and-white TV as Neil Armstrong took “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” I recall the sense of jubilation and accomplishment that all American citizens...

Health-Care Policy

The National Cancer Moonshot Lifts Off

Just 6 months after President Barack Obama announced the establishment of a National Cancer Moonshot Initiative to accelerate the pace of research discoveries, improve patient access and care, and encourage data-sharing, dozens of new initiatives to accomplish those and other goals were rolled out...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Road to Successful Use of Real-World Evidence for Drug Development Is Long and Rocky

Friends of Cancer Research (Friends) has been a leader in the push for better and faster cancer drug development. Now it is tackling the use of real-world evidence in clinical trials. This is the report of a meeting on the subject that took place on June 16 in Washington, DC.1 Real-world evidence...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

CMS Proposal for Part B Drug Payment: A Poorly Conceived Experiment

On March 11, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule in the Federal Register to test a change in reimbursement for Part B drugs.1 The first phase involves changing the 6% add-on to the average sales price (ASP) used to make drug payments under Part B to...

Health-Care Policy
Cost of Care
Issues in Oncology

Charting a New Course at the FDA

In February, after serving for a year as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco, Robert M. Califf, MD, MACC, was named the agency’s Commissioner of Food and Drugs. Prior to his appointment at the FDA, Dr. Califf was the Donald F....

Health-Care Policy
Issues in Oncology

Supporting Policy to Reduce Tobacco-Related Deaths

One billion lives. That is the estimated human death toll of tobacco use in the 21st century.1 Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide—20% of all deaths and 30% of cancer deaths in the United States are linked to tobacco use.2,3 Impacting this preventable public health...

Health-Care Policy

Statement From FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, MD, on the Release of the Final Individual Patient Expanded Access Form

On June 2, 2016, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Robert Califf, MD, issued the following statement on the release of the final individual patient expanded access form.  “Today, the FDA finalized its efforts to streamline the process used by physicians to request expanded...

Health-Care Policy

Moving the Needle on HPV Vaccination

In 2012–2013, members of the President’s Cancer Panel (prescancerpanel.cancer.gov) focused their efforts on accelerating widespread acceptance of and use of approved human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to prevent cancer. The topic is important, because HPVs cause most cases of cervical cancer and...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Statement on Human Papillomavirus Vaccination for Cancer Prevention

As reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology by Howard H. Bailey, MD, of the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, and colleagues, ASCO has released a statement on increasing human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination to prevent HPV-related cancers in the United States.1  In the United...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Urges Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to Withdraw Medicare Part B Demo in Formal Comments

ASCO President Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO, issued this statement on May 10. “In comments1 submitted yesterday to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), ASCO underscored the urgent need to advance a more fair and responsible payment system for oncology than what is proposed in...

health-care policy
legislation

Vulnerable Hospitals, Cancer Surgery Readmissions, and Penalizing Payment Programs

Readmission rates after complex cancer operations tend to be higher in hospitals that are considered to be vulnerable because they serve as safety nets in their communities or have a high number of Medicaid patients. Reasons for higher readmission rates are highly complex and involve socioeconomic...

Health-Care Policy

Providing Perspective on Pressing Economic Issues Facing Cancer Care—Now and in the Future

CANCERSCAPE, the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), provided a forum for about 300 attendees to gain insight into the complexities of oncology treatment, where “clinical advances, policy mandates, and value-based payment reform intersect.” Of particular...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Issues Report on State of Cancer Care in America: 2016

The State of Cancer Care in America: 2016, published online in the Journal of Oncology Practice1 and presented earlier this month at a Congressional briefing in Washington, DC, is ASCO’s third annual assessment of national trends in cancer care delivery. The report highlights many promising cancer...

Health-Care Policy

340B Drug Pricing Program Revisited

I have to disagree with some of the conclusions drawn by Drs. Hagop Kantarjian and Robert Chapman in their editorial on the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which appeared in the January 25 issue of The ASCO Post. Although I’m sure I’m not the best person to provide an alternate view, I do feel strongly...

Health-Care Policy

Regulators Embrace Immunotherapy

The Cancer Drug Development Forum exists to provide, as the name implies, a meeting place to bring together academia, the pharmaceutical industry, and most important regulators for full and frank discussions to facilitate anticancer drug development. In the recent past, the Cancer Drug Development...

legislation
health-care policy

An Increase for the National Institutes of Health Budget

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) received a nearly $2 billion funding increase—the first large increase for the agency in more than 12 years—in the federal omnibus spending bill Congress passed on December 18, 2015. And President Barack Obama signed the bill into law a day later. The 6.6%...

health-care policy

Pediatric Oncology Groups Endorse Ethical Framework for Rationing Scarce Drugs

The Children’s Oncology Group (COG) and the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO) have endorsed formal clinical recommendations for rationing chemotherapy and supportive care agents during times of shortage. The guidance is needed because persistent shortages of many standard...

health-care policy

Robert Miller, MD: CancerLinQ Update

Robert Miller, MD, ASCO’S Vice President of Quality and Guidelines, discusses CancerLinQ, the “big data” technology platform, and implementation of a rapid learning system for oncology based on Institute of Medicine principles.

Health-Care Policy

Oncology Drug Approvals: Year in Review

In 2015, the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products (OHOP) approved 16 new molecular entities. The most notable were drug approvals in disease areas such as non–small cell lung cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, melanoma, renal cancer, and diseases that are particularly difficult to...

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