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Today – Friday, May 11, 2018  –  President Trump announced the administration’s plan to tackle rising drug costs in the United States through a four-pronged policy approach outlined in “ American Patients First: The Trump Administration Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs .” Proposed strategies seek to lower prescriptions drug costs through increased competition, improved negotiations, creation of incentives through regulatory measures to lower drug list prices and to decrease out-of-pocket spending. The long-awaited plan is a blend of existing policies laid out in the administration’s 2019 budget blueprint as well as some smaller, ...
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A  report  released last week at the  American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)  annual national policy forum in Washington, D.C., finds that only 27 percent of patients have access to clinical trials close to where they are receiving treatment.  In this new landscape report, “ Barriers to Patient Enrollment in Therapeutic Clinical Trials for Cancer ,” existing key research and knowledge on barriers to trial participation are brought together and analyzed to better understand how these barriers relate to each other, as well as how each contributes to the problem. ACS CAN offers the report as a resource for discussions and action steps for ...
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April 9-13, 2018, is designated   National Cancer Registrars Week . The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) is pleased to recognize its cancer registrar members and the important, increasingly sophisticated role that the profession plays to advance cancer prevention, research, and treatment both locally and nationally. From ensuring data accuracy to providing meaningful information to advance care, these oncology data information specialists continue to support the delivery of quality care in an era focused on data and reporting. In honor of National Cancer Registrars Week, ACCC is pleased to spotlight some recent contributions from ACCC-member ...
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Over the last months, my ACCCBuzz blog posts have covered navigation documentation tools, orientation needs, patient education, and the value navigators bring to a cancer program. Navigators support patient-centered, coordinated, streamlined access to care. But what about the support navigators themselves need in order to provide the best possible care for the patients and their families while juggling a host of other responsibilities? This was a hot topic of discussion during a recent Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) Navigation Metrics Subcommittee meeting.   My answer to this question takes me back four years. At that time I was ...
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Healthcare stays in flux as Congress passed an omnibus spending bill this past Friday, March 23, funding the federal government through September 2018. While many healthcare provisions made their way into the budget, including increased funding for the opioid epidemic, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there was no inclusion of a market stabilization bill for Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces. The ACA stabilization package was introduced to attempt to drive down premium increases, which are expected to rise by about 30 percent in 2019 without stabilization measures. Here are some top-line ...
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What is the greatest opportunity for innovation to ensure that cancer care will be accessible, affordable, and convenient? Opening last week’s  ACCC 44th Annual Meeting & Cancer Center Business Summit (AMCCBS)  in Washington, D.C., Harlan Levine, MD, President Strategy and Business Ventures, City of Hope, moderated a distinguished panel challenged with answering this question: Barbara McAneny, MD, FASCO, MACP, President-Elect of the American Medical Association (AMA); Anand Shah, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI); Roy Beveridge, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Humana, ...
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Braving blustery March winds, an energetic contingent of ACCC members headed to Capitol Hill yesterday to speak up on behalf of access to quality cancer care in nearly 100 congressional meetings with their legislators, covering 44 unique house districts and 52 unique senate districts. “I definitely felt like we were heard at both [of our] meetings,” said Robin Hearne, MS, RN, from The Outer Banks Hospital. “I appreciated all the energy around trying to move cancer to the forefront with people who can vote on policy,” said Gina Moon, CFO, Green Bay Oncology, Green Bay, Wisconsin. Some first-time Hill Day participants were surprised that the meetings were ...
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Implications of the Budget Deal & the President’s FY2019 Budget for Oncology After another brief government shutdown, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 on Friday, February 9. Healthcare provisions embedded within this legislation will have an important impact on clinicians and patients. Of note, the two-year budget deal raises budget caps by $300 billion, funds the federal government through March 23, 2018, prevents another sequester that would have been triggered by the recent tax reform legislation, and gives Congress additional time to pass a full-year omnibus appropriations bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. Read on for high-level ...
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The oncology community has experienced dramatic marketplace consolidation over the last several years.     For some physician practices this consolidation has given rise to new partnerships with hospitals and health systems; while for others it has meant outright purchase by a hospital or health system. Still, many physician practices have embraced the transition from fee-for-service to value-based care, experiencing great success under alternative payment models, such as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s   Oncology Care Model (OCM) . Learn from three of these forward-thinking practices during a panel session, “Physician Practice Models ...
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In res ponse t o the tsunami of change, innovation, and uncertainty underway across our healthcare system, new business mode ls, relationships, and technologies in cancer care delivery are emerging. At the  ACCC 44th Annual Meeting & Cancer Center Business Summit, March 14-16 , thought leaders and stakeholders in oncology with expertise in business, quality, technology, and policy will come together to explore trends, strategies, and provocative questions about the best way forward. As an example: Is regional cancer care delivery the next step in cost effective, coordinated care?   Read on for perspectives from Mathew Sturm, associate principal, ...
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In honor of World Cancer Day, February 4th, ACCC asked guest blogger Dr. Paul Goss, founder of the Global Cancer Institute (GCI), to share how GCI's new patient navigation program is helping to accelerate care for breast cancer patients in Mexico. At 77 years old, Juana was diagnosed with breast cancer. She lived in a remote village outside Mexico City, and was sent to a city hospital for treatment. Fortunately for Juana, that hospital had a new Patient Navigation program, organized by the  Global Cancer Institute  (GCI) and modeled after a U.S. protocol to help accelerate cancer patients’ path to treatment. Thanks to her Patient Navigator, Juana was seen ...
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By the calendar year, we’re only a month into 2018, but the clinical landscape of immuno-oncology (I-O) continues to evolve according to its own accelerating time frame, changing the face of cancer care and advancing our understanding of the complex relationship between the immune system and cancers. If we pause to look back through the calendar pages of 2017, we see that cancer immunotherapies realized significant responses and durable remissions with monotherapy and combination treatment across several tumors types—melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, renal cell carcinoma, and urothelial cancer. Two CAR-T therapies captured the headlines receiving FDA ...
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Alex Azar, current nominee for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), went before the Senate Finance Committee for the second time on December 9 on his road to confirmation. Despite Azar’s expected confirmation later this month, this hearing, once again, brought the spotlight and scrutiny to Azar assuming this role. If confirmed, Azar would be the first individual to assume leadership of HHS who has served as an executive within the pharmaceutical industry. Azar was previously president of Eli Lilly USA. Similar to his prior public testimony, in his December 9 comments before the Senate Finance Committee, Azar stated there were ...
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On August 21, 2017, ACCC submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding the agency’s  proposed 2018 updates  to the Quality Payment Program (QPP), a two-track value-based reimbursement system created by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). The two tracks in which eligible clinicians can opt to participate are the enhanced fee-for-service based  Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)  and  Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) , which require clinicians to take on more than nominal risk. Under the QPP, 2017 performance will affect Medicare payments for all eligible clinicians in 2019. ...
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Here in Washington, D.C., as we count down the days remaining in the Congressional August recess, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has reminded us that big changes in healthcare are not limited to the political brinkmanship of ACA repeal. On July 13, 2017, the agency released its CY 2018   proposed Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS)   and   Physician Fee Schedule (PFS)   rules. The proposed OPPS rule was the big news this year, signaling major changes may be in store for hospital reimbursement in 2018. The agency is proposing significant reduction in payment for drugs purchased under the 340B Drug Pricing Program ...
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As we continue to better understand the many diseases encompassed under the name, “cancer,” we are also seeing an increase in the number and complexity of anti-cancer treatments. These exciting advances are taking place while cancer programs are striving to empower patients with education about their diagnosis and treatment journey and continually improve the patient experience of care. In this guest blog post, Dr. James Weese, vice president, Aurora Cancer Care, describes his program’s   2017 ACCC Innovator Award   winning approach. The Challenge Oncologists, nurses, and other cancer care staff across the country work tirelessly to find the best way ...
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Healthcare professionals are known for hiding their grief. There is an unspoken (though outdated!) code that we must be strong. Or, put another way, that we just need to get used to it. But with increased recognition of the high risk for burnout among healthcare professionals, this “old code” is coming under scrutiny. Writing about “professional grief,” Elizabeth Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH, former executive director of the   National Association of Social Workers   observes that “professional grief is generally hidden grief, grief that is internalized and not openly expressed . . . . There’s no natural outlet and demands of work overshadow it.” Grief that ...
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Despite much debate, healthcare reform remains in flux in Washington after a round of critical votes in the U.S. Senate this week. In the latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), on Tuesday, July 25, the U.S. Senate voted 51-50, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie vote, for a motion to proceed, which set up a process allowing for open debate and amendments to the AHCA, the House version of ACA repeal, on the Senate floor. On Tuesday evening, the U.S. Senate brought to the floor their latest version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) with the added Cruz Amendment, allowing for sale of low-cost insurance plans if insurance ...
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This week, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, of the Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), held a hearing titled, “Examining HRSA’s Oversight of the 340B Drug Pricing Program.”   Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)   is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that currently oversees the   340B Drug Pricing Program . The program’s inception in 1992 sought to provide discounted outpatient drugs to “covered entities” (DSH facilities, rural referral centers, freestanding cancer centers, non-profit hospitals, etc.) who provide a certain level of ...
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At the end of last week, it was anticipated that the U.S. Senate would hold a vote on the Senate Republicans’   revised version   of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) today, Tuesday, July 18. However, over the weekend,  Senator John McCain (R-AZ) underwent an emergency surgery and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the vote on BCRA would be postponed until Senator McCain’s return to Washington, D.C. With two Senators, Rand Paul (R-KY) and Susan Collins (R-ME), already openly opposed to voting ‘Yes’ on BCRA—Senator McCain’s absence would have put the Republican Senators’ vote on the bill at risk. In order to continue the ...
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