ASCO in ActionASCO 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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August 15, 2019

On August 9, ASCO submitted a comment letter to Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), regarding the proposed rule on Sec. 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—Nondiscrimination in Health and Health Education Programs or Activities.

August 8, 2019

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new national coverage determination (NCD) announcing that Medicare will now cover Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR T-cell) therapy for certain patients with cancer.

August 6, 2019

ASCO recently submitted comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the agency’s draft guidance recommending specific approaches for sponsors of clinical trials to broaden eligibility criteria, redesign clinical trials, and remove patient barriers to increase enrollment of underrepresented populations in their clinical trials.

August 6, 2019

Precision medicine treatments (otherwise known as targeted therapies) have the potential to improve outcomes for patients with advanced cancer. Over the last 5 years, 20% of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) drug approvals have been for precision medicine treatments. With so many treatments coming onto the market, it can be challenging for oncologists to navigate the options available to identify the right treatment for each patient.

July 29, 2019

In a comment letter to Acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless, MD, ASCO expressed concerns that a proposed modification to the existing Opioid Analgesic Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (OA REMS) could adversely affect patients with cancer-related pain.

July 25, 2019

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recently expanded its HPV vaccination age range recommendations. These expansions include catch-up vaccinations for persons through age 26 who are not adequately vaccinated, and recommended vaccination based on shared clinical decision making for individuals ages 27 through 45 years who are not adequately vaccinated.

July 23, 2019

In early July 2019, 14 out of the 16 members of the House GOP Doctors Caucus sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma requesting that their agencies reconsider a policy allowing Medicare Advantage plans to use step therapy.

July 12, 2019

President Trump recently signed an executive order, “Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Health Care to Put Patients First,” aiming to provide patients with more transparent information about the price and quality of health care services so that patients can make better-informed decisions about their care.

July 10, 2019

On July 10, organizations representing patients, providers, medical researchers, survivors, and their families joined together to call on Congress to improve access to clinical trials for patients with life-threatening diseases. The coalition, which is made up of 86 supporting organizations, is urging Congress to pass the bipartisan CLINICAL TREATMENT Act (H.R. 913), which would guarantee coverage of the routine care costs of clinical trial participation for Medicaid enrollees with a life-threatening condition.

June 25, 2019

ASCO submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding the 2020 Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) proposed rule. ASCO’s comments focus on appropriate coverage and reimbursement for Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Therapy (CAR-T) therapies, the need to address disparities between rural and urban hospitals, and implementation of meaningful quality measures to improve cancer care for patients and providers.

June 14, 2019

ASCO joined more than 120 other organizations in signing on to a letter urging Congress to introduce several improvements to ensure the continued success of efforts to implement the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.

June 7, 2019

From June 8-12, 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.

June 7, 2019

ASCO is seeking 10 oncology practices in urban centers in the U.S. with high proportions of African-American patients with breast cancer in 11 specific metropolitan areas to participate in its Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®), QOPI® Certification, and Quality Training Program (QTP) offerings, with training and funding support provided.

June 5, 2019

As part of the collaboration that lead to the recent CDC clarification on its guideline on prescribing opioids to manage pain from certain conditions, leadership from the organizations came together to write an op-ed for ASCO Connection. That commentary from ASCO CEO Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO; NCCN CEO Robert W. Carlson, MD; and ASH President Roy Silverstein, MD, fully outlines the groups’ concerns about how efforts to address the opioid crisis in the United States could inadvertently create a new crisis through the misguided application of well-intentioned clinical guidelines.

May 23, 2019

On May 17, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the Access to Infertility Treatment and Care Act (HR 2803 and S 1461), which ASCO has endorsed.

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