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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 ...

Health-Care Policy
Issues in Oncology

ASCO’s State of Cancer Care in America: 2017 Report Acknowledges Both the Progress Made in Oncology Care and the Challenges Ahead

Jo Cavallo  /  April 10, 2017

Despite advances in cancer risk assessment, prevention, disease detection, drug development, and health-care delivery, which have led to unparalleled reductions in cancer incidence and mortality, access to affordable health care and increased administrative burdens placed on oncology practices threa...

Health-Care Policy
Pain Management

ASCO Addresses New Policies That Threaten Access to Opioids

Ronald Piana  /  March 25, 2017

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 trend...

Health-Care Policy

Oncology Organizations Applaud Passage of the 21st Century Cures Act

The ASCO Post  /  December 25, 2016

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
Legislation

AACR Holds Congressional Briefing to Reiterate Moonshot Goals and Plans

Margot J. Fromer  /  August 25, 2016

“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...

Health-Care Policy

Pediatric Oncology Groups Endorse Ethical Framework for Rationing Scarce Drugs

Kirsten Boyd Goldberg  /  March 10, 2016

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 the...

Legislation
Health-Care Policy

An Increase for the National Institutes of Health Budget

Kirsten Boyd Goldberg  /  March 10, 2016

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% in...

Health-Care Policy
Issues in Oncology

Evolving Tools for Clinical Decision-Making

Caroline McNeil  /  February 25, 2016

Value in cancer care—and how to define it—is a hot topic. There is general agreement that it is some measure of benefit vs cost, but “should the focus be on providing value to patients at a population level or at an individual level?” asked Alan Balch, PhD, CEO of the Patient Advocate Foundation, sp...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Cancer Care in Low-Resource Areas: Some Improvements Over the Years, but Serious Problems Remain

Margot J. Fromer  /  December 10, 2015

Low- and middle-income countries bear a larger share of the global cancer burden than does the developed world,” said Greta ­Massetti, PhD, Associate Director for Science, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Cancer Prevention and Control and Co-Chair of the National Cancer P...

Issues in Oncology
Legislation

Debate Over Physician-Assisted Suicide Continues, State by State

Ronald Piana  /  November 10, 2015

In 1997, after surviving a storm of high-court legal challenges, Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act went into effect, making Oregon the first American state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. The Supreme Court ruled that there was no right to assisted suicide in the Constitution but implied that s...

Health-Care Policy

Inconsistent Federal Regulations Undercut U.S. Research Productivity, National Academies’ Report Finds

Kirsten Boyd Goldberg  /  October 25, 2015

Ask any U.S. academic investigator whether research is hindered by duplicative or confusing federal regulations, and the answer is usually a resounding “Yes.” Now comes a report written by representatives of research administrators, former federal government officials, and principal investigators—in...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

ASCO Asks CMS to Revisit Its Payment Policy to Support Optimal Cancer Care

The ASCO Post  /  October 10, 2015

ASCO has called on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to reconsider revisions to payment policies that could be administratively burdensome to oncology practices and result in reimbursement that inadequately supports optimal cancer patient care. In a comment letter to CMS on the...

Health-Care Policy

Medicare to Reimburse Doctors for End-of-Life Counseling

Ronald Piana  /  August 10, 2015

In a breakthrough proposal announced on July 8, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to reimburse physicians for end-of-life counseling, a move that the oncology community has long been lobbying for. Arriving just as the presidential election cycle begins to heat up, the CMS ...

Breast Cancer
Issues in Oncology

Assessing and Improving Imaging Interpretation in Breast Cancer Screening

Margot J. Fromer  /  July 10, 2015

The quality of mammography images has markedly improved over the past few decades. However, the quality of the interpretation of mammograms remains variable. That said, more than 38 million mammograms are performed annually in the United States. So said Diana Buist, PhD, Senior Scientific Investiga...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Translating Study Recommendations Into Medicare Coverage

Ronald Piana  /  July 10, 2015

Lung cancer doggedly remains the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. This grim mortality figure is due, in part, to a lack of early detection methods; more than half of all lung cancers have metastasized at the time of diagnosis. For decades, lung cancer advocates lobbied for...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

ASCO Releases 2015 Report on The State of Cancer Care in America

Jo Cavallo  /  May 10, 2015

In March, ASCO published its second annual report, The State of Cancer Care in America: 2015.1 Its findings show a mixed landscape, on the one hand, spotlighting advances in therapy and improving survival rates, but on the other, describing a cancer care system under stress from increasing demand fo...

Health-Care Policy

After Decades of Uncertainty, the Sustainable Growth Rate Formula Is Repealed by Congress

Ronald Piana  /  May 10, 2015

The U.S. Congress recently did something remarkable: both parties reached across the aisle and overwhelmingly passed H.R. 2, a bill that will permanently repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR), the problematic formula for Medicare reimbursement. It just needed the President’s signature, which it r...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Commends U.S. House of Representatives for Voting to Repeal the SGR, Urges Senate to Pass Legislation

The ASCO Post  /  April 10, 2015

We applaud the House of Representatives for passing legislation that eliminates the Sustainable Growth Rate [SGR] formula and takes a giant leap toward meaningful and urgently needed Medicare physician payment reform. Cancer incidence among Medicare beneficiaries is expected to increase by 67% by 20...

Lung Cancer
Health-Care Policy

CMS Issues Preliminary Decision to Cover Annual Lung Cancer Screening

Ronald Piana  /  December 15, 2014

In a long-awaited decision, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a preliminary proposal to cover annual lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography for appropriate beneficiaries following counseling and a shared–decision-making visit with a qualified provider...

Palliative Care

Private Payer and Academic Center Data Capture Inappropriate Use of End-of-Life Care

Alice Goodman  /  December 15, 2014

Data sharing between a comprehensive cancer center and a private insurer appears to be a novel way to capture practice patterns that can point to potential quality improvements. A study that combined data from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts showed that some ...

Health-Care Policy

Policy Issues in Molecularly Targeted Therapy: The Science, the Money, the Applications

Margot J. Fromer  /  December 15, 2014

In the past decade, much new knowledge about the molecular underpinnings of cancer has accumulated, and the array of molecular aberrations in each individual tumor can be assessed through genomic sequencing and other tests. The rationale for and feasibility of developing molecularly targeted therapi...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Calls for Major Medicaid Reform to Improve Quality Cancer Care for Low-Income Americans

Jo Cavallo  /  December 1, 2014

ASCO issued its new Policy Statement on Medicaid Reform on November 17, which calls for major changes to the program to ensure access to high-quality cancer care for all low-income individuals. The Society’s recommendations call for Medicaid expansion in all 50 states to close coverage gaps, improve...

Breast Cancer
Cost of Care

Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy Program Improves Adherence to Hormone Therapy After Breast Cancer Surgery

The ASCO Post  /  December 1, 2014

Findings from a study of more than 23,000 women suggest that the Medicare Part D Extra Help program, which provides low-income subsidies for medications, improves adherence to hormone therapy after breast cancer surgery in all racial/ethnic groups and reduces racial/ethnic disparities. The study, re...

Health-Care Policy

Health-Care Reform Is Changing the Oncology Landscape

Susan London  /  October 15, 2014

Value-based health-care reform is happening. We have to get on board,” Rena Conti, PhD, a health economist at the University of Chicago, advised attendees of the Best of ASCO Seattle meeting. She discussed highlights from Annual Meeting sessions that addressed the impact of the Affordable Care Act o...

Health-Care Policy
Cost of Care

Tough Questions About Health-Care Reform Put Economist in Hot Seat

Susan London  /  October 15, 2014

Although diverse stakeholders agree that health reform is needed, there is little consensus on the specifics of that reform. Best of ASCO Seattle attendees put a number of pointed questions to health economist Rena Conti, PhD, of the University of Chicago, asking about thorny issues such as cost con...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

9/11 and Cancer: What Do We Know?

Ronald Piana  /  September 15, 2014

On September 11, 2001, the devastating terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center left in its wake a unique toxic site in both mass and quantity of hazardous materials. It took 9 months to remove approximately 2 million tons of wreckage from Ground Zero, during which thousands of emergen...

Health-Care Policy

Does the United States Have the Best Health-Care System in the World?

Hagop Kantarjian, MD  /  August 15, 2014

Many concerns were raised and dire speculations predicted during the further implementation of the Affordable Care Act this year. So far, the trickling news is good: An estimated total of 20 million people gained coverage under the new law as of May 1,1 about 6 million enrolled in the law’s Medicaid...

Health-Care Policy

IOM Workshop Explores Growing Problems in Patient Access to Cancer Drugs

Margot Fromer  /  July 10, 2014

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 year...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

Cancer Care Under the Affordable Care Act

Ronald Piana  /  June 25, 2014

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 t...

Lung Cancer
Issues in Oncology

Medicare Advisory Panel Cast Doubts on Lung Cancer Screening, Leaving Advocates Dismayed but Undaunted

Ronald Piana  /  June 10, 2014

On April 30, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) convened the Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC) to assess the value of low-dose computed tomography (CT) lung cancer screening in the Medicare population. After a decades-long battle, lung...

Health-Care Policy

Patients Benefit From Faster FDA Drug Approval Process

Margot Fromer  /  June 10, 2014

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 Inno...

Health-Care Policy

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

The ASCO Post  /  June 10, 2014

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 beneficiarie...

Health-Care Policy

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

Caroline Helwick and Susan Reckling  /  May 15, 2014

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, Florida...

Leukemia

FDA Approves Mercaptopurine Oral Suspension for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

The ASCO Post  /  May 15, 2014

On April 28, 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a 20 mg/mL oral suspension of mercaptopurine (Purixan) indicated for the treatment of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) as part of a combination regimen. Successive clinical trials have demonstrated that mercaptopurine ...

Issues in Oncology

ASCO Speaks Out on Release of Medicare Physician Payment Data

The ASCO Post  /  May 1, 2014

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is deeply concerned about [the recent] release of Medicare physician payment data. ASCO is committed to the delivery of high-quality, high-value care for all people with cancer in the United States. This data release solely focuses attention on the do...

Health-Care Policy

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

Jo Cavallo  /  April 15, 2014

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 Washi...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

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

The ASCO Post  /  April 15, 2014

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 unneces...

Issues in Oncology

Cancer Research Funding Still Tight—and Getting Tighter

Margot J. Fromer  /  April 15, 2014

Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), CEO of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), welcomed about 150 congressional staffers to a March briefing in Washington, DC, with a plea for increased federal funding. “Extraordinary progress is being made in cancer research today, as evidenced by the mo...

Issues in Oncology

Informed Consent: Not Just About Blood Tests and Procedures Anymore

Margot J. Fromer  /  April 15, 2014

On February 24, the Institute of Medicine National Cancer Policy Forum convened a workshop, “Contemporary Issues in Human Subjects Protection in Cancer Research,” in Washington, DC. In his introduction to the workshop, Steven Piantadosi, MD, PhD, Director, Samuel Oschin Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sin...

Lung Cancer

Decision Time for Lung Cancer Screening in High‑Risk Populations

Ronald Piana  /  April 15, 2014

For decades, dedicated members of the oncology community have fought to increase the nation’s focus on lung cancer prevention and treatment. Although smoking cessation initiatives have reduced cigarette consumption, lung cancer 5-year survival has remained stagnant at 15%, lagging far below most can...

Health-Care Policy

The FDA’s Bad Ad Program

The ASCO Post  /  April 15, 2014

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 ...

Legislation
Health-Care Policy

Greatly Frustrated by Congressional Failure to Act on Sustainable Growth Rate

Statement by ASCO President Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP  /  April 15, 2014

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...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

FDA Orders Cessation of Sale, Distribution of Four Tobacco Products

The ASCO Post  /  March 15, 2014

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 products...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Addresses Changes in Medicare for 2014

Ronald Piana  /  March 15, 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 i...

Breast Cancer
Health-Care Policy

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

Alice Goodman  /  March 15, 2014

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 pr...

Health-Care Policy

President Obama’s FY 2015 Budget Proposal

The ASCO Post  /  March 15, 2014

[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 based...

Legislation

Congress Agrees on Repeal of Sustainable Growth Rate

Ronald Piana  /  March 1, 2014

The U.S. Congress recently did something rarely seen on Capitol Hill: Leaders from both sides of the aisle agreed on a piece of legislation. On February 6, 2014, the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees and the Senate Finance Committee announced its agreement on a bill—the SGR Rep...

Issues in Oncology

U.S. Government Accountability Office Issues Report on Drug Shortages

The ASCO Post  /  March 1, 2014

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report evaluating drug shortages and the associated public health threats, including prolonged duration of a disease, permanent injury, and death.1 This report follows a recommendation by GAO in 2011 that the U.S. Food and Drug Admini...

Issues in Oncology

ASCO Applauds CVS Caremark’s Move to Stop Selling Tobacco

The ASCO Post  /  March 1, 2014

CVS Caremark recently announced that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores across the United States by October 1, 2014, making CVS/pharmacy the first national pharmacy chain to take this step in support of the health and well-being of i...

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