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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January 28, 2019

On January 28, the ASCO Connection published a blog by ASCO’s State Affiliate Council chair Elizabeth Blanchard, MD, detailing the cancer policy priorities ASCO’s state affiliate associations will focus on in 2019.  Many of the priorities build on the activities from the past year, including access to opioids for cancer patients, utilization management, and fertility preservation. 

January 22, 2019

ASCO’s first draft of its data specification of the Minimal Common Oncology Data Elements (mCODE™) project is available and open for comment through February 19.

January 22, 2019

As of January 9, ASCO’s Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Round 1 of reporting is open for data abstraction. Round 1 will close on June 3, and final reports will be available approximately two weeks after the round closes.

January 22, 2019

As the 116th Session of the U.S. Congress gets underway in Washington, D.C., committees and subcommittees with jurisdiction over cancer-related policy priorities are taking shape and selecting new and returning leadership. With this committee leadership in place, ASCO will continue its efforts to advance policy priorities including: federal funding for cancer research, patient access to clinical trials, oral parity legislation, and other potential barriers to care such as the high cost of cancer drug treatment, step therapy, and prior authorization policies.

January 18, 2019

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), along with nearly 60 other organizations, joined the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in an advertising campaign urging the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Congress to halt proposed changes to Medicare Part D’s six protected classes.

January 16, 2019

In a comment letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), ASCO urged the agency to ensure that every Medicaid enrollee with cancer can access the high-quality care needed to treat their disease. The comments were submitted in response to a proposed rule on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) Managed Care that aims to streamline the programs’ regulatory requirements, reduce administrative burden, and increase flexibility for state governments.

January 15, 2019

On January 14, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved cabozantinib (CABOMETYX®, Exelixis, Inc.) for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have been previously treated with sorafenib.

January 11, 2019

ASCO congratulates Anand Shah, MD, MPH, on being named Senior Medical Advisor for Innovation at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). In his new role, Dr. Shah will lead efforts across CMS to advance medical innovation reporting directly to CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

January 9, 2019

A new global resource that includes data on thousands of inherited variants in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes will help inform the understanding of cancer risk. Wendy Rubinstein, MD, PhD, FACP, FACMG, and Deputy Medical Director of CancerLinQ, LLC, a wholly owned nonprofit subsidiary of ASCO, served as a co-author of the new paper published this week in PLOS Genetics detailing the development of the new resource, BRCA Exchange.

January 9, 2019

Statement from American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) President Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, FASCO, on the American Cancer Society Cancer Facts and Figures 2019 Report

January 8, 2019

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today published standards on the safe handling of hazardous drugs in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. ASCO’s standards largely endorse best practices issued by other stakeholder groups for safely handling hazardous drugs but offer alternatives in several key areas where more research is needed to identify evidence-based safety measures.

January 8, 2019

Reimbursement cuts for certain oncology specialties. Changes in documentation requirements for certain E&M services. Reduced reimbursement for new Medicare Part B drugs. These are some of the changes coming to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and the Quality Payment Program this year. In the latest ASCO in Action Podcast, ASCO CEO Dr. Clifford A. Hudis discusses the changes made to the physician fee schedule and the Quality Payment Program, and what this may mean for your oncology practice.

January 2, 2019

As part of the Trump Administration’s continuing effort to address the cost of prescription drugs, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently solicited input on a proposed new pilot program to test mechanisms for reducing drug costs. The International Pricing Index Model (IPI) for Medicare Part B drugs proposes sweeping reforms that would, in part, benchmark some Medicare Part B drug prices against other countries and change how providers get paid for administering drugs to patients.

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