During the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates (HOD) annual meeting, delegates approved several ASCO-led resolutions and incorporated them into the AMA’s policy agenda.
ASCO in Action regularly provides the latest news and analysis related to cancer policy news; see the following online articles. These updates provide snapshots of ASCO’s ongoing advocacy efforts, as well as opportunities for ASCO members and guests to take action on critical issues affecting the cancer community.
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Right-to-try is the latest topic addressed in the ASCO in Action podcast series. ASCO CEO Dr. Clifford Hudis recently interviewed ASCO Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Schilsky to examine RTT legislation—now enacted as federal law—and discuss the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) expanded access program.
From June 9 – 13, ASCO’s delegates will participate in the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates (HOD). The AMA HOD is the principal policy-making body of AMA, and meets twice a year to discuss pressing issues and establish association policies. ASCO currently sends three delegates to the AMA HOD: Edward P. Balaban, DO, FACP, FASCO; Thomas A. Marsland, MD, FASCO; and Ray D. Page, DO, PhD, FACOI.
ASCO submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to a proposed rule to revise the agency’s methods for assuring patient access to Medicaid services. In a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, ASCO President Bruce Johnson, MD, FASCO, urged CMS to maintain its rule requiring states to monitor and report on beneficiary access to providers, and to ensure that final changes do not jeopardize access to care for patients with cancer. ASCO also encouraged CMS to explicitly require state assessment of access to oncologists.
Sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations face unique challenges in accessing health services, including discrimination and greater risk of anxiety and depression, that can result in disparate care. SGM populations have low rates of cancer screening for reasons that include lower rates of insurance coverage, exclusion from traditional cancer screening campaigns, and previous experiences of discrimination when interacting with health care systems and providers.
On May 15, ASCO submitted comments to Congressional committees applauding their commitment to addressing the opioid crisis but urged them to ensure that such efforts do not prevent patients with cancer from receiving appropriate opioid therapy.
On May 17, the Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing to discuss the budget request for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, and National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director Ned Sharpless, MD, both gave testimony at the hearing, where Dr. Sharpless underscored the need for adequate funding to strengthen the cancer research infrastructure.
This ASCO in Action Brief is designed to help ASCO members gain a clearer understanding of the impact of state and federal right-to-try (RTT) legislation in the United States on oncology patients and practices.
ASCO’s Policy Issue Briefs provide succinct overviews and relevant data on major policy issues impacting patients with cancer and the physicians who care for them. These briefs are designed to be especially helpful for journalists, offering background information on key issues across health policy today.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day—April 28, 2018— is a nationwide event to educate the public on the safe storage and disposal of drugs and to help patients safely, conveniently, and responsibly dispose of unused or expired opioids and other prescription medications throughout the year. On Take Back Day, patients can visit collection sites near them to turn in medications.
Members of ASCO's Leadership Development Program held a Hill Day to advocate for federal research funding, oral parity, step therapy, and other cancer policy priorities.
President Trump recently announced that his Administration is developing a “three-pronged plan” to help combat the opioid epidemic in the United States. The announcement comes after the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Opioid Policy Steering Committee released a notice earlier this year requesting comments on several questions related to opioid prescribing, provider education, and prescription drug monitoring programs. ASCO recently submitted extensive comments to the steering committee addressing these questions and reiterating the importance of special consideration of the cancer patient population.
In a letter to the Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions leadership, ASCO and 25 other healthcare groups asked the House Subcommittee to consider the Restoring the Patients Voice Act of 2017 (H.R. 2077), which provides patient protections against step therapy protocols imposed by private sector health plans..
ASCO submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on proposed changes to Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription plans for 2019. The comments included recommendations for updating prior authorization requirements as well as feedback on policies to address the national opioid epidemic.
ASCO submitted comments to the Senate Finance Committee on addressing the opioid epidemic in the United States. ASCO is concerned about the epidemic and its devastating impact on too many Americans and wants to ensure that any efforts to address the epidemic do not inadvertently limit access to appropriate medical therapy for patients with cancer.