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Health-Care Policy

Health-Care Policy

Leaders of the PROMISE Study Address Racial Inequities in the United States

Jo Cavallo  /  June 25, 2020

In 2018, researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute launched a large, ambitious screening study called PROMISE (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT03689595). The objectives of the study were to identify people with premalignant precursor conditions of multiple myeloma, understand the molecular sign...

Health-Care Policy
Immunotherapy

CMS Finalizes Decision to Cover CAR T-Cell Therapy for Medicare Beneficiaries

The ASCO Post  /  August 25, 2019

ON AUGUST 7, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized the decision to cover U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy among recipients of Medicare benefits. FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapies are approved to treat patients ...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

Rising Costs of Cancer Care: It's More Than Drugs

Ronald Piana  /  August 15, 2011

All parties—the government, payers, and consumers—agree that, left unchecked, rising health-care costs will eventually hamstring vital portions of our delivery system. For example, Medicare, which covers more than 50% of the nation’s patients with cancer, is marching headlong toward insolvency. Larg...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Congressional Hearing Highlights Oncology Drug Shortages

Margot Fromer  /  September 1, 2011

Some oncology drugs are in such short supply that the situation is now critical, with almost 200 drugs affected—triple that of 2003. This was the background described by speakers at a July 2011 congressional briefing sponsored by the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), ASCO, and other ca...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Oncology Drug Shortage: An Unintended Consequence of the Medicare Modernization Act and Free-market Forces?

Ronald Piana  /  September 15, 2011

Oncology has a drug shortage problem, and the FDA says that it is getting worse. Drug shortages are not a new phenomenon, but over the past few years we have seen a rapidly growing number of shortfalls that are limiting providers’ ability to care for their patients. In 2004, the FDA reported 58 drug...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Developing Targeted-agent Combinations: Business and Regulatory Issues, and Legal Obstacles

Margot J. Fromer  /  September 15, 2011

The Institute of Medicine’s National Cancer Policy Forum recently convened a public workshop, “Facilitating Collaborations to Develop Combination Investigational Cancer Therapies,” to address the promises and challenges involved in the development of combination oncologic drug therapies. In the Sept...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Issues Policy Statement to Reduce Cancer Care Disparities

Jo Cavallo  /  October 15, 2011

Last August, ASCO issued the policy statement, “Opportunities in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to Reduce Cancer Care Disparities” in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1 The statement builds on ASCO’s policy on disparities in cancer care released in 2009. It calls on both the oncology...

Global Cancer Care
Health-Care Policy

Tobacco Remains the Dominant Global Risk Factor Underlying Cancer

Margot Fromer  /  November 1, 2011

Despite clear evidence that tobacco causes at least 18 types of cancer, as well as many other diseases, many people all over the world smoke or chew tobacco, or are exposed to secondhand smoke. Although smoking among Americans has declined slowly but steadily over the past 40 years, it remains the l...

Health-Care Policy

AACR Issues Landmark Report on Cancer Progress

Ronald Piana  /  November 1, 2011

At a recent press conference in Washington, DC, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) assembled luminaries from the cancer research and care communities to discuss the salient points of the association’s newly released progress report on the current and future state of cancer research ...

Cost of Care

New Technologies Are Driving Up Costs: Are They Worth the Price?

Ronald Piana  /  November 1, 2011

Expensive new cancer therapies and technologies are alluring for both physicians and their patients. Prostate cancer, because of the sheer volume of cases and the variability of treatment options, serves as a dynamic disease model in the ongoing debate over how to curb spending and maintain high-qua...

Issues in Oncology

Do We Need the USPSTF?

Derek Raghavan, MD, PhD  /  November 1, 2011

Like most of the folks reading this commentary, I’m a taxpayer. Although I sometimes become impatient with the strategic games on Capitol Hill, I basically appreciate that government helps many things to work, and some of them even work well. However, there are aspects of government function that d...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Supports the United Nations Political Declaration on Noncommunicable Diseases

Jo Cavallo  /  November 15, 2011

In September, government leaders from around the world as well as representatives from civil society, the private sector and academia gathered at the United Nations in New York for the first-ever summit on the growing economic and human crisis posed by noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), especially in ...

Issues in Oncology

Improving Quality and Safety with Health Information Technology

Ronald Piana  /  December 15, 2011

A well-documented flaw in paper-based health care is the propensity for medical errors. According to Blackford Middleton, MD, MPH, MSc, implementing clinical decision support software can decrease medical error, improve outcomes, and lower the costs of care. Presenting a session titled “Improving Qu...

Issues in Oncology

Oncologists Need Hands-on Approach in Developing Next Generation of EHRs

Ronald Piana  /  December 15, 2011

The electronic health record system offered by vendors is more like a filing cabinet, not the sophisticated, interactive database needed by busy oncologists, according to Kevin S. Hughes, MD, FACS, Co-Director, Avon Comprehensive Breast Evaluation Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, who presente...

Issues in Oncology

Need for Data Capture Crucial, Now and After ‘Meaningful Use’

Cindy Chavez  /  December 15, 2011

It’s never enough. Whether it is the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), other payers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, or specialty companies, one can never provide enough data. When will it all end? The problem, or the opportunity for many, is that it won’t end. The need for discrete ...

Health-Care Policy

Medicare Reimbursement to Physicians: Déjà Vu All Over Again

Nora Janjan, MD, MPSA, MBA, and John Goodman, PhD  /  December 15, 2011

In February 2011, The ASCO Post published an opinion piece (“Congress and the ‘Doctor Fix’: Looking Back, Looking Ahead”) about the ping-pong of legislative continuing resolutions to avert a 21.3% cut in physician reimbursement. These continuing resolutions were necessary because the Affordable Care...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

A Conversation with Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD

Jo Cavallo  /  December 15, 2011

Last September, Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, a leading scholar in bioethics and health-care policy, was named the Diane v.S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor and Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. His appointment will be shared between ...

Issues in Oncology

The Newly Diagnosed Patient with Cancer and Access to Care

Caroline Helwick  /  January 1, 2012

A study presented at the 2011 ASCO Annual Meeting raised concerns that newly diagnosed cancer patients are having trouble seeing an oncologist. Interviews with several cancer centers and community practices, however, suggest that the process runs smoothly, for the most part. Majority of Patients Co...

Issues in Oncology

Shortening the Learning Curve of the U.S. Health-care System

Ronald Piana  /  January 15, 2012

If we are able to harness the full potential of digital technologies, computerized registries, databases, and the Web, could we solve many of the current woes of our sluggish and costly health-care system? Yes, according to Lynn Etheredge, a consultant with the Rapid Learning Project at the George W...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Drug Shortages Hit Oncology Hard: Experts Weigh in on Challenges and Solutions

Ronald Piana  /  February 15, 2012

Periodic drug shortages are an unavoidable reality in our complicated pharmaceutical supply chain; however, over the past several years, drug shortages have expanded to crisis levels, putting vulnerable patients at risk. In 2010, there were 178 drug shortages reported to the FDA, 132 of which were s...

Cost of Care

Cost of Care: A Multidisciplinary Responsibility

Daniel A. Vorobiof, MD  /  February 15, 2012

I read the interview with Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (The ASCO Post, December 15, 2011) with much interest, as the health-care policy problems that America is currently experiencing have plagued other countries for some time. Despite proactive measures and attempts to amend those situations elsewhere, litt...

Health-Care Policy

A Visionary Call for the ‘Creative Destruction’ of Medicine

Ronald Piana  /  March 1, 2012

According to nationally regarded cardiologist and geneticist Eric Topol, MD, Chief Academic Officer of Scripps Health, the next frontier of the digital revolution can create exponentially better health care. Dr. Topol, who is also Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and Professor...

Health-Care Policy

AACR Urges Congress to Maintain, Preferably Increase, Cancer Research Funding

Margot J. Fromer  /  March 15, 2012

December 23, 2011, marked the 40th anniversary of the National Cancer Act. To mark that occasion, on February 2, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) held a Congressional briefing, attended by about 100 legislative aides, to remind Congress that the war on cancer is far from over. Sig...

Health-Care Policy

Rising Costs in Radiation Oncology Linked to Medicare Coverage

Ronald Piana  /  March 15, 2012

In the ongoing debate over how to control rising cancer care costs, it is vital to identify usage patterns of expensive new technologies. A recent study examined the relationship between Medicare reimbursement and the increasing use of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).1 The ASCO Post spo...

Issues in Oncology

ACCC Releases Survey on ‘Oncology Medical Home’

The ASCO Post  /  April 15, 2012

The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) released findings from a survey that explores how community-based cancer care programs view the concept of the “oncology medical home”—a patient-centered model for coordinated care, whereby payers would reimburse physicians for services that keep pa...

Health-Care Policy

ACCC Meeting Focuses on Affordable Care Act: Its Future, and What It Might Accomplish

Margot J. Fromer  /  April 15, 2012

The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) mid-March Annual Meeting devoted several sessions to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Will it still be here after the Supreme Court decides its fate? If so, how much of it will survive, and how will it affect oncology practice? In la...

Lung Cancer

Nearly 800,000 Lung Cancer Deaths Averted during 1975–2000 Due to Decline in Smoking Rates

The ASCO Post  /  May 1, 2012

The cumulative impact of changes in smoking behavior that started in the mid-1950s averted approximately 795,851 U.S. lung cancer deaths, 552,574 among men and 243,277 among women from 1975 to 2000, according to a report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The researchers also estimated...

Issues in Oncology

Novel Initiative to Address Oncology Drug Crisis

Alice Goodman  /  May 15, 2012

Much has been written about the oncology drug shortage crisis in the United States. In the spirit of being part of the solution to that problem, a group of oncologists has formed the Citizen’s Oncology Foundation (COF). The goal of the start-up not-for-profit association is two-pronged: to find solu...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Update on Oncology Drug Shortage: Better for Now, But Permanent Solutions Must Address Underlying Issues

Charlotte Bath  /  May 15, 2012

Over the past few years, drug shortages in the United States have been on the rise, involving hundreds of agents, many of which are lifesaving medications for patients with cancer. In recent months, the FDA has taken steps to alleviate some of the most critical oncology drug shortages. “We should a...

Issues in Oncology

ASCO President Michael P. Link, MD, Makes Statement on Passage of FDA Safety and Innovation Act

The ASCO Post  /  May 15, 2012

ASCO President Michael P. Link, MD, recently issued the following statement in response to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s Passage of the FDA’s Safety and Innovation Act: “ASCO commends the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for taking steps to addre...

Global Cancer Care
Pain Management
Palliative Care

Untreated Cancer Pain Remains a Significant Global Problem

Ronald Piana  /  May 15, 2012

“Physicians are afraid of morphine … Doctors [in Kenya] are so used to patients dying in pain … they think that this is how you must die. They are suspicious if you don’t die this way — [and feel] that you died prematurely.” —Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. John Weru of Nairobi Hospice, Kenya...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Reexamines the Oncology Workforce Shortage

Jo Cavallo  /  June 15, 2012

A study commissioned by ASCO in 2006 predicted a significant shortage of medical and gynecologic oncologists in the United States by 2020. As a result, the organization created the Workforce Implementation Group to develop recommendations to stem the projected workforce shortfall and ensure ongoing ...

Health-Care Policy

The Affordable Care Act Stands: Now What?

Ronald Piana  /  July 15, 2012

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law—a hotly contested bill that enacted sweeping changes to the U.S. health-care system. The debate over the Affordable Care Act continued all the way to the Supreme Court, spearheaded by the case Florida v...

Health-Care Policy

Three Experts Weigh In on the Health-care Reform Legislation

Ronald Piana  /  July 15, 2012

In light of the Supreme Court ruling, The ASCO Post asked three nationally regarded experts about how the Affordable Care Act will affect the practice of oncology. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania: This is an overwhelmingly p...

Prostate Cancer
Health-Care Policy

Senate Legislation Urges Federal Research Support to Improve Early Detection of Prostate Cancer

The ASCO Post  /  August 15, 2012

U.S. Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA) led unanimous passage of Senate Resolution 493 to recognize prostate cancer as an epidemic striking African American men disproportionately, with 250% higher mortality and 60% higher incidence. This bipartisan legislation urges federal agencies to support research f...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

As Conflicting Guidelines Evolve, Experts Continue to Debate the Merits of Cancer Screening

Jo Cavallo  /  August 15, 2012

In the 1930s and 1940s, when the American Cancer Society [ACS] first brought forth the message that early cancer detection saves lives, it was a broad brushstroke and an appropriate message. The problem now is that new technology enables us to find [tumors that would never progress to invasive cance...

Biomedical Research Faces Imminent $2.4 Billion Budget Cut Unless Congress Acts

The ASCO Post  /  September 15, 2012

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) faces a significant budget reduction in January 2013 due to automatic across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration, required under the federal Budget Control Act of 2011. The estimated $2.4 billion NIH cut could result in 700 to 2,300 fewer research grants fu...

Issues in Oncology

Despite Progress, Chemotherapy Drug Shortages Still Vex the Oncology Community

Ronald Piana  /  October 15, 2012

During the first week of November 2011, President Obama signed an Executive Order directing the FDA to take steps to help resolve the drug shortages that were affecting patient care across the country. The oncology community was hit especially hard; many of the drug shortfalls were generic chemother...

Global Cancer Care

Viral Infection and Liver Cancer: A Global Health Crisis

Ronald Piana  /  October 15, 2012

It is estimated that at least 15% of all cancers worldwide can be attributed to infectious etiologies, mostly viral infections. At this year’s ASCO Annual Meeting, an intriguing session on virally induced cancers provided critical clues that could be of real practical value in advancing our battle a...

AACR’s Cancer Progress Report 2012 Highlights Advances, Challenges, Opportunities

Margot J. Fromer  /  November 1, 2012

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) recently released its Cancer Progress Report for 2012,1 providing a snapshot of the major advances in cancer research, and highlighting the great need for continued funding for the field. “It is a new day for cancer research and cancer patients,” ...

Health-care Crisis Reconsidered

Jonathan Schwartz, MD  /  December 15, 2012

As an oncologist in private practice, I usually read with great interest the many articles in The ASCO Post on issues regarding the politics of oncology practice. These articles deal with the major topics of the day, ranging from the high cost of oncologic care to shortages of generic drugs, to alle...

Issues in Oncology
Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

The Ethics of Rationing Cancer Care

Jo Cavallo  /  December 15, 2012

Should cost be a consideration when deciding on treatment for patients with cancer, and if so, what kind of ethical dilemma does that pose for oncologists? With U.S. spending on oncology drugs expected to climb more than 20% annually over the next decade—reaching $173 billion by 2020, according to t...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

President Obama Signs High-mortality Cancer Bill into Law

The ASCO Post  /  January 15, 2013

Just hours before the end of the 112th Congress, constitutional deadline for approval of a bill passed by that Congress, President Barack Obama signed into law the first legislation requiring comprehensive plans of research action for high-mortality cancers, with lung and pancreatic cancers given pr...

Issues in Oncology

NCI Director Assesses Barriers to Faster Progress in Cancer Research

Ronald Piana  /  January 15, 2013

At a National Press Club media event in Washington, DC, on September 25, 2012, National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director Harold E. Varmus, MD, addressed a group of 75 reporters and officials. His discussion focused on impediments—biologic, economic, institutional, and cultural—to faster cancer resear...

Health-Care Policy

Does Health-care Quality Translate to Value?

Ronald Piana  /  January 15, 2013

On March 23rd, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, enacting sweeping change in our health-care system. An underlying theme of the legislation is the realignment of our payment system so that it places value over volume of services. At ASCO’s first Qu...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

Last-minute ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Deal by Congress Again Averts Medicare Cuts to Physicians

The ASCO Post  /  January 15, 2013

A last-minute patch to the sustainable growth rate formula included in the “fiscal cliff” deal averted massive cuts to oncologists who care for and treat Medicare patients. “This end-of-year crisis management once again demonstrates the critical need for fundamental reform of the Medicare reimbursem...

Health-Care Policy

Health Insurance Issues for Young Cancer Survivors

ASCO  /  February 1, 2013

The latest addition to Cancer.Net’s video series for young adults, Moving Forward: Perspectives from Survivors and Doctors, deals with the health insurance issues young adult cancer survivors may face. This video series is a collaboration between Cancer.Net and LIVESTRONG. Each set of videos in the ...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

The Doctor Who Championed Patient Navigation in Harlem 

Ronald Piana  /  February 15, 2013

After completing his residency at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Harold P. Freeman, MD, arrived at Harlem Hospital Center in 1967, where the overwhelming majority of his patients presented with late-stage disease. That early experience with underserved patients would shape his career as one...

Cost of Care
Survivorship

Study Finds Young Cancer Survivors Often Skip Checkups

Jo Cavallo  /  March 1, 2013

Athough the majority of the more than 69,000 adolescents and young adults (AYAs) diagnosed with cancer each year will survive their disease, many of them will experience interruptions in their education and a derailment in their career tract, curtailing their lifetime earning potential and reducing ...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

Sequestration Will Have Shattering Impact on Entire U.S. Cancer Enterprise 

The ASCO Post  /  March 15, 2013

March 1 marked the beginning of sequestration, the unprecedented automatic budget cuts that immediately take effect across the federal government—after months of futile negotiations by the President and Congress. Sequestration will have a shattering impact on the entire cancer enterprise in the Uni...

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