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Health-Care Policy

Highlights of ACCC Annual Meeting Include Discussion of Trends Shaping the Future of Health Care 

The 39th Annual National Meeting of the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) was held in Washington, DC, in March. With a focus on business, economics, and policy, the program included the inauguration of a new ACCC President (see page 102), a keynote speech on the future of health care,...

Health-Care Policy

Implementing a National Cancer Clinical Trials System for the 21st Century 

In March 2011, the National Cancer Policy Forum of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), in conjunction with ASCO, held a workshop to discuss a collaborative approach to making the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded clinical trials system more viable and productive. That workshop included...

Health-Care Policy

Rally for Medical Research Draws Thousands in Person and on Social Media 

In estimated 10,000 demonstrators filled the streets in front of Washington, DC’s historic Carnegie Library on April 8 to protest budget cuts at the National Institutes of Health. The Rally for Medical Research was held to “emphasize to our policymakers that medical research must become a national...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Disparities in Cancer Care: How A Deep South Community Overcame Them 

Racial inequities were a daily observation for Edward E. Partridge, MD, growing up in Alabama during the civil rights era. When he became a physician, he saw that these disparities extended into his own field, gynecologic oncology. He decided to do something about it. Dr. Partridge recently...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

Congress Must Reverse Devastating Budget Cuts to Cancer Care

Sandra M. Swain, MD, FACP, ASCO President, issued the following statement on April 27, 2013: “Today, out of concern for public safety, Congress provided the Federal Aviation Administration enhanced flexibility in application of sequestration related cuts, including reversal of furlough requirements ...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

ASCO Announces New Conflict of Interest Policy 

In April, ASCO released its updated conflict of interest policy in the development and presentation of scientific research and educational content. The revised policy is designed to increase transparency in financial relationships between individuals and health-care companies and impose new...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

Sequestration's Impact on Cancer Care  

On March 1, the deficit-budget mechanism known as sequestration took effect, triggering $85 billion in across-the-board cuts to most federal agencies over the remaining 7 months in fiscal year 2013. The total federal deficit reduction budget under the Budget Control Act of 2011 calls for $1.2...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

Accountable Care Organizations May Be at Risk for New Medical Liabilities 

The promotion of accountable care organizations, a crucial element in the Affordable Care Act, may result in liability risks, said H. Benjamin Harvey, MD, JD, a radiologist in the Department of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and I. Glenn Cohen, JD, Assistant Professor of Law at...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Urges Administration to Provide Clear Affordable Care Act Guidance on Protecting Patient Access to Clinical Trials

ASCO has joined more than 50 other organizations in urging the Administration to issue regulations or guidance before January 2014 to ensure health plans implement an important provision of the Affordable Care Act that would remove a critical obstacle to patients interested in participating in...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

The Sunshine Act Calls for Greater Transparency in Industry-Doctor Relationships 

Signed into law on March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act represents the most significant overhaul of the U.S. health-care system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. Because of the law’s sheer scope, parts of it still remain obfuscated by its 2,400 or so...

Health-Care Policy

AACR Cautions Diminished NIH Funding Jeopardizes Ability to Eradicate Cancer Health Disparities

Recently the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) hosted a congressional briefing to highlight the significance of federally funded biomedical research in improving our understanding of cancer health disparities and developing targeted interventions to eliminate them. Disproportionate...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Combining Community Practice and Health Policy Advocacy 

Barbara L. McAneny, MD, is a board-certified medical oncologist/hematologist with a robust community practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. McAneny, who has held many leadership roles in oncology associations, became a delegate to the American Medical Association (AMA) from ASCO in 2002, was...

health-care policy
legislation

Sustainable Growth Rate Bill Advances in the House 

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee has unanimously approved the Medicare Patient Access and Quality Improvement Act of 2013, which replaces Medicare’s sustainable growth rate formula. The law would provide 5 years of stable Medicare payments beginning in 2014, with reimbursement rates...

Health-Care Policy

Straight Talk: The Future of Medical and Health Research 

Nearly 200 scientists and stakeholders in the research community attended Research!America’s National Health Research Forum on September 12, at the Newseum’s Knight Conference Center in Washington, DC. Research!America’s President and CEO, Mary Woolley, opened the program. “The theme for this...

Health-Care Policy

For 2 Decades, Nancy Davenport-Ennis Has Worked to Ensure Access to Health Care for All Patients Diagnosed With Life-Threatening Illness 

As a young girl, Nancy Davenport-Ennis remembers hearing her parents tell stories about families struggling to pay their health-care expenses following a diagnosis of a serious illness like cancer. But it wasn’t until 3 decades later when she was coping with her own diagnosis of breast cancer and...

Health-Care Policy

Trying to Improve Value in Cancer Care: An Experiment

One of the more significant problems in modern oncology practice is to provide increased value at a time when costs are spiraling upward, and new parameters of “success” are being introduced into the equation—most visibly, inside the Beltway in Washington, DC. Thus, oncologists will need to address ...

Health-Care Policy

AACR Cancer Progress Report 2013 Highlights Critical Importance of Biomedical Research 

On September 17, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) presented highlights of its 2013 Cancer Progress Report1 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. AACR Chief Executive Officer Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), opened the program with a double-edged message, first citing the...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

The Scientific Perils of Sequestration 

We are just 7 months into the $1 trillion in automatic federal budget spending cuts known as sequestration, and the impact on scientists in all areas of research is already so great, some say its full effects may be irreversible. The ASCO Post recently interviewed ASCO President Clifford A. Hudis, ...

Health-Care Policy

IOM Report Illuminates U.S. Cancer Care Crisis and Offers Framework for Change

In September, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies issued its report, Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis,1 published more than a decade after its first study on the quality of cancer care in the United States. The authors of the...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

Improving Quality Measurement in Cancer Care: Policy Recommendations

Quality measurement—how we assess cost and effectiveness of cancer care—cannot be separated from policy decisions that have a profound influence on the overall health-care system. At the recent ASCO Quality Care Symposium, Jennifer L. Malin, MD, PhD, Medical Director for Oncology at WellPoint, Inc, ...

Health-Care Policy
Cost of Care

Innovative Payment Models Needed to Sustain Quality Cancer Care  

Nationally regarded health-care expert Lee N. Newcomer, MD, MHA, began his presentation at this year’s ASCO Quality Care Symposium with a rhetorical question. “Why are we talking about money when we’re gathered in San Diego for 2 days to discuss some wonderful ways to impact the quality of cancer...

Health-Care Policy

National Cancer Policy Summit: Setting Priorities for the Next 3 Years

Welcome to the meeting we hold every 3 years to choose our next projects,” said John Mendelsohn, MD, Chair of the National Cancer Policy Forum and Director of the Khalifa Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. “We have here a...

Health-Care Policy

IOM Makes Clinical Data Available for Research

In 1979, Congress mandated that an epidemiologic study be launched to evaluate the frequency and type of adverse health conditions experienced by military personal as a result of their exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam War. Called the Air Force Health Study...

Health-Care Policy

Statement by ASCO President Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP,  on ACS Report

“The American Cancer Society [recently] issued a report showing a 20% decline in cancer death rates between 1991 and 2010, and estimating that 1.3 million deaths have been averted as a result of the decline.  “This is tremendous progress and a direct result of our nation’s commitment to cancer...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Statement on Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer 

Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, President of ASCO, commented recently on the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, co-authored by the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the North American Association of Central...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Surgeon General’s New Report Attributes Smoking as Cause of Death in More Than 20 Million Americans Over Past 50 Years

According to a new Surgeon General’s report issued last month, more than 20 million Americans have died from smoking over the past 50 years. The new report concludes that cigarette smoking kills nearly half a million Americans a year, with an additional 16 million suffering from smoking-related...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

50th Anniversary of the First U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health

“When the first Surgeon General’s Report was released in 1964, more than half of American men and over a third of women smoked and lung cancer had gone from an obscure disease to a leading cause of death. In issuing this pioneering report summarizing the known health risks of smoking, our nation’s...

health-care policy

ASCO Proposes New Framework for Medicare Reimbursement

In the fifth installment of the Physician Payment Reform Educational Series, ASCO presents an alternative for oncology reimbursement that recognizes and rewards high-quality, high-value care for patients with cancer. ASCO hopes this proposal will spark conversation within the oncology community and ...

Health-Care Policy

Major Cancer Advances in 2013 Highlight Importance of Federal Funding

About one-third of the most important clinical advances in cancer last year were made possible at least in part through federal funding, according to ASCO’s annual report on progress in cancer, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1 Significant Declines in Funding The report, “Clinical...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

The Surgeon General’s Report on Tobacco Turns 50: Much Success, Much Work Ahead

On January 11, 2014, the nation commemorated the 50th anniversary of a document that transformed our public health landscape and has saved millions of lives: Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service. This groundbreaking report, which...

Health-Care Policy

President Obama’s FY 2015 Budget Proposal

[On March 4, 2014], President Obama released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2015. Among several cost-cutting measures designed to preserve Medicare solvency is a proposal to reduce reimbursement for life-sustaining cancer drugs. Currently, reimbursement to physicians for “Part B” drugs is...

Breast Cancer
Health-Care Policy

Affordable Care Act to Cover Chemoprevention for Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer

On January 9, 2014, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, announced that under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, women at increased risk of breast cancer will be entitled to preventive medications without incurring out-of-pocket costs (with the...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Addresses Changes in Medicare for 2014

Medicare patients make up 61% of new cancer cases in the United States, and as the population ages, that proportion is expected to rise to 70% by 2030. Over the past decade, the oncology community has been financially challenged by alterations in the Medicare payment system. To address the changes...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

FDA Orders Cessation of Sale, Distribution of Four Tobacco Products

FDA has issued orders to stop the further sale and distribution of four tobacco products currently on the market. The action marks the first time the FDA has used its authority under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act to order a manufacturer of currently available tobacco...

Health-Care Policy

The Evolution of U.S. Cooperative Group Trials: Publicly Funded Cancer Research at a Crossroads

Over the past 5 decades, National Cancer Institute (NCI) Clinical Trials Cooperative Groups have played an enormous role in the fight against cancer, tackling a broad social agenda, including cancer prevention, quality-of-life issues for patients with cancer, and comparison of benefits among...

Legislation
Health-Care Policy

Greatly Frustrated by Congressional Failure to Act on Sustainable Growth Rate

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is deeply frustrated by the failure of Congress to permanently repeal the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula used to set Medicare physician payments and passage of the 17th patch to the system. ASCO and the entire physician community worked ...

Health-Care Policy

The FDA’s Bad Ad Program

INSIDE THE BLACK BOX is an occasional column providing insight into the FDA and its policies and procedures. In this installment, Robert Dean, MBA, Director, and Michael Sauers, Deputy Director, of Division II in the FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion discuss the FDA’s Bad Ad program. The...

issues in oncology
health-care policy

ASCO Signs Joint Open Letter to End Tobacco Sales

ASCO has joined 26 of the nation’s leading public health and medical organizations in signing a joint letter calling on drug stores and other retailers to end the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products. The open letter came just weeks after CVS Caremark announced it would stop selling...

health-care policy

ASCO Calls for Clear Guidance on Tobacco Cessation Benefits in the Affordable Care Act

ASCO has signed a joint letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking for clear and comprehensive guidance on the tobacco cessation benefit in the Affordable Care Act regulations. In the letter, the organizations applaud the Department of Health and Human ...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

American College of Radiology Issues Statement on Budgetary Efforts to Curtail Imaging and Radiation Oncology Self-Referral

The American College of Radiology (ACR) recently issued a statement applauding steps to reign in medical imaging and radiation oncology self-referral included in the President’s fiscal year 2015 budget. However, prior authorization for imaging services, also included in the FY2015 budget, is...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Releases Its First-Ever Report on the State of Cancer Care in America

On March 11, ASCO released its first-ever comprehensive assessment of the daunting challenges facing America’s ability to continue to deliver high-quality care to all patients with cancer. ASCO President Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, introduced the assessment at a Congressional news briefing in...

Health-Care Policy

The Outlook on Cancer Research in This Era of Leaner Federal Funding

In the March 1, 2014, issue of The ASCO Post we talked with Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about the future of biomedical research at the NIH during this time of constrained federal funding. We continue that conversation here with our interview of...

Health-Care Policy

The Affordable Care Act: NCCN Panelists Rate It ‘Average’

Oncologists and third-party payers are already experiencing changes as a result of the Affordable Care Act, which earned an “average” rating by a panel of providers, payers, and patients assembled at the 19th Annual Conference of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) in Hollywood,...

Health-Care Policy

Unprecedented Release of Medicare Data Raises Concerns About Lack of Context: Statements From COA and ASTRO

In April, as part of the Obama administration’s work to make the U.S. health-care system more transparent, affordable, and accountable, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a vast amount of privacy-protected data on services and procedures provided to Medicare...

Health-Care Policy

Patients Benefit From Faster FDA Drug Approval Process

In an increasing spirit of cooperation, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and several pharmaceutical companies are bringing to fruition the newest in a series of ways to expedite drug development and review. Breakthrough therapy is the designation instituted in 2012 by the FDA Safety and...

Health-Care Policy
Geriatric Oncology

AACR Calls on Congress to Support Cancer Research Funding to Meet the Challenges of Our Aging Population

Great progress is being made in the battle against cancer, but a renewed commitment of federal support for medical research is needed to speed its eradication, according to leaders of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), commenting in connection with a recent Senate hearing on “The...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

Cancer Care Under the Affordable Care Act

The problematic rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s website, HealthCare.gov, made good political theater, but while much of the heated discussion centered on the plan’s need to enroll “young invincibles,” America’s cancer care system and the older patients it serves were also affected by parts of...

Health-Care Policy

IOM Workshop Explores Growing Problems in Patient Access to Cancer Drugs

Cancer patients’ out-of-pocket costs are rising dramatically, and insurance premiums, cost sharing, and ancillary expenses can be devastating. Many people go bankrupt as a result of the high costs of health care. Drugs are among the most serious economic culprits. They grow more expensive every...

Health-Care Policy

FDA Takes Steps to Help Ensure the Reliability of Certain Diagnostic Tests

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently took important steps to ensure that certain tests used by health-care professionals to help diagnose and treat patients provide accurate, consistent, and reliable results. First, the FDA is issuing a final guidance on the development, review, and ...

health-care policy

ASCO Launches Online Resource to Help Oncologists Understand the Impact of the Affordable Care Act

This year, major provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 are being implemented, with far-reaching impacts on health-care providers and patients. In addition to implementing requirements under the new law, oncology practices are treating considerably more patients with...

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