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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February 7, 2019

On February 15 from 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM ET, ASCO will host a webinar discussing current standards for the safe handling of hazardous drugs. The webinar will look at existing safe handling standards from the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and provide an overview of ASCO’s recently released standards.

February 7, 2019

ASCO’s first draft of its data specification of the Minimal Common Oncology Data Elements (mCODE™) project is available and open for comment. The deadline for comments has been extended by one week and now closes on February 19.

February 6, 2019

On February 6, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved caplacizumab-yhdp (CABLIVI®, Ablynx NV) for adult patients with acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (aTTP), in combination with plasma exchange and immunosuppressive therapy.

February 5, 2019

In a comment letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), ASCO urged the agency to protect patient access to necessary cancer care under Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare Part D. The comments were submitted in response to proposed changes to MA and Part D aimed at lowering drug prices.

February 5, 2019

ASCO, along with over 50 other organizations, signed a letter from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network to the Department of Health and Human Services urging the agency to reject proposed changes to Medicare Part D that could harm patient access to essential therapies, including cancer care.

February 5, 2019

On January 31, ASCO joined more than 60 organizations in requesting the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to reverse its recent decision to limit coverage for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). The organizations expressed concern that the decision will make it harder for patients to access medically necessary and relevant clinical tests, reducing the quality of their cancer treatment and care.

February 4, 2019

Oncology practices have an opportunity to learn how they compare to others on key business and operational benchmarks through ASCO’s annual Survey of Oncology Practice Operations. The survey, which opens today, reviews the current state of business and operational issues in oncology and is part of ASCO’s continued efforts to help oncology practices navigate the evolving cancer care delivery system.

February 4, 2019

From February 11-12 in Washington, DC, the National Cancer Policy Forum of the National Academies is hosting a workshop, “Developing and Sustaining an Effective and Resilient Oncology Careforce.”

January 31, 2019

The Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) has released a number of resources to help practices ensure compliance with the revised Common Rule, which went into effect on Monday, January 21, 2019. 

January 31, 2019

Suanna Bruinooge, MPH, Division Director, Research Strategy and Operations for ASCO’s Center for Research and Analytics, recently spoke about the TAPUR™ Study and the importance of data collection in expanded access (individual use, as well as medium, and large programs) as part of a panel discussion for a summit “Integrating Expanded Access Into the Modern Drug Development Process.” 

January 31, 2019

ASCO has been informed that some oncology practices and providers in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) have received inaccurate payment adjustments as a result of Medicare Part B drug costs incorrectly being included in the adjustments. 

January 31, 2019

ASCO is seeking to team with an oncology practice in Western Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan provinces) to host its one-day Quality Training Program (QTP) course.

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

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.

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