The 116th Congress is in full swing, and ASCO is advocating on a number of cancer-related policy priorities, including federal funding for cancer research, patient access to clinical trials, oral parity legislation, and potential barriers to care such as the high cost of cancer drug treatment, step therapy, and prior authorization policies. ASCO members can support these advocacy efforts by engaging local lawmakers to ensure they are aware of patient access challenges, as well as legislation that can improve the delivery of the highest quality cancer care.
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.
To sign up for advocacy alerts, log in to ASCO.org with your ASCO member or guest account, and visit the subscription center available under your account profile.
On February 11-12, the National Cancer Policy Forum hosted a workshop at the National Academy of Medicine in Washington, DC, entitled “Developing and Sustaining an Effective and Resilient Oncology Careforce.” Over the course of the two-day workshop, ASCO volunteer and staff leadership and several other ASCO members gave presentations and participated in panel discussions. ASCO President-Elect Howard “Skip” Burris, MD, FASCO, discussed his institution’s experiences leveraging organizational culture and leadership to promote change in the oncology careforce.
Acreditar Oncology has become the third practice in Brazil to receive Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) certification through QOPI Certification Program, LLC, and the tenth practice internationally to receive this accreditation.
"We strongly oppose the White House budget proposal for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, which would stall our nation’s progress against cancer and impede access to needed care for the millions of Americans dealing with cancer. The proposal would make drastic, unprecedented cuts to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—which houses the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)."
On March 11, the Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP) published, “State of Cancer Care in America: Reflections on an Inaugural Year,” which highlights key takeaways from the 2018 State of Cancer Care in America series. The JOP series, which examines trends and critical challenges in the delivery of cancer care, used the findings from the 2017 ASCO Practice Census (the Census), a survey of U.S. oncology practices, as its starting point to identify the most pressing issues in cancer care. The series includes articles on trending topics on cancer care, along with commentaries from payers, oncologists, and regulators.
On March 8, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to atezolizumab (TECENTRIQ®, Genentech Inc.) in combination with paclitaxel protein-bound for adult patients with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) whose tumors express PD-L1 (PD-L1 stained tumor-infiltrating immune cells [IC] of any intensity covering ≥ 1% of the tumor area), as determined by an FDA-approved test.
Registration is now open for the 4th Annual FDA Clinical Outcome Assessments in Cancer Clinical Trials (COA-CCT) Workshop, which will take place on July 12 at the FDA White Oak Campus in Silver Spring, Maryland.
In late January, ASCO notified members that some oncology practices and providers in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) received inaccurate 2019 payment adjustments as a result of Medicare Part B drug costs incorrectly being included in the adjustments. CMS is now working to correct the payments. ASCO is in contact with the agency and will keep members informed as a solution is implemented. No action is required from MIPS participants at this time.
March 4 is International HPV Awareness Day, which aims to promote education about HPV, raise awareness about prevention methods, and encourage governments and individuals to take advantage of the HPV vaccine and screening for cancer. ASCO is again a supporter of the important initiative.
The Quality Training Program (QTP) is now accepting applications for its summer course at ASCO headquarters in Alexandria, Va., which begins on July 10. The application deadline is Monday, June 3, and applicants who register in March will receive a $100 discount on their tuition.
On February 28, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved trastuzumab and hyaluronidase-oysk injection, for subcutaneous use (Herceptin Hylecta™, Genentech Inc.). Herceptin Hylecta is a combination of trastuzumab, a HER2/neu receptor antagonist, and hyaluronidase, an endoglycosidase, for the treatment of HER2‑overexpressing breast cancer.
ASCO Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Schilsky recently joined ASCO CEO Dr. Clifford A. Hudis to discuss the 2019 Clinical Cancer Advances (CCA) report on the ASCO in Action Podcast. The CCA report identifies the most important clinical research advances from the past year across the full trajectory of cancer care, ranging from prevention and screening to treatment and survivorship.
ASCO members who are practicing oncologists may have received an email inviting them to participate in the American Medical Association’s Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee survey for physician office visits and a new prolonged services code. This important survey will help ASCO, in concert with the RUC, recommend accurate relative values for physician work and direct practice expenses to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and ASCO members are encouraged to participate if they are invited to take the survey.
On February 22, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved trifluridine/ tipiracil tablets (LONSURF®, Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.)—a fixed combination of trifluridine, a nucleoside metabolic inhibitor, and tipiracil, a thymidine phosphorylase inhibitor—for adult patients with metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma previously treated with at least two prior lines of chemotherapy that included a fluoropyrimidine, a platinum, either a taxane or irinotecan, and if appropriate, HER2/neu-targeted therapy.
On February 25, 2019, the Journal of Oncology Practice published an article on precision medicine as part of the State of Cancer Care in America series, which highlights existing challenges and offers three distinct examples of oncology practices successfully implementing precision medicine programs.