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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October 17, 2019

The Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Certification Program continues to expand its reach, certifying the first system within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Salisbury VA Health Care System, on October 9.

October 16, 2019

Issue Overview

Rising health care costs, including escalating drug prices, have led to an increased focus by payers on strategies to guide the use of health care resources. As payers search for ways to control the rising cost of care, they often employ “utilization management" (UM) policies, which are payer-imposed practices that may restrict, limit, or deny coverage for certain treatments.

October 10, 2019

ASCO has submitted comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) applauding its proposed rule to implement the use of new graphic warning labels on cigarette packaging and advertisements. The comments were sent through a letter from ASCO President Howard A. Burris III, MD, FACP, FASCO, to FDA Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless, MD, on September 19.

October 2, 2019

A new JCO Precision Oncology article co-authored by CancerLinQ® Deputy Medical Director Wendy Rubinstein, MD, PhD, FACMG, FACP, and CancerLinQ LLC Medical Director Robert S. Miller, MD, FACP, FASCO, published October 1 examines next-generation sequencing in relation to how it can be implemented into the clinical workflow in a practice setting.

October 1, 2019

Senators Lisa Murkowski (AK), Doug Jones (AL), and Bill Cassidy (LA) introduced S. 2546, the Safe Step Act of 2019, in the U.S. Senate. If enacted into law, the bill would ensure patients with private insurance have reasonable protections against harmful step therapy practices.

October 1, 2019

In a comment letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) ASCO expressed significant concerns that provisions in the 2020 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) proposed rule have the potential to undermine patient access to cancer care for Medicare beneficiaries.

October 1, 2019

At the 2019 ASCO Advocacy Summit, ASCO members from 35 states held more than 160 Congressional meetings, urging Members of Congress to take action to advance policy priorities which improve patient access to cancer care, including clinical trials.

October 1, 2019

On September 30, President Trump signed into law a Continuing Resolution (CR), which would provide flat funding for federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), through November 21, 2019. ASCO encourages Congress to take action to include the highest increase possible in a full Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 funding package.

October 1, 2019

Researchers from around the country joined together for two days of learning and collaboration at ASCO’s headquarters in the greater DC metro area for the 2019 ASCO Research Community Forum (RCF) Annual Meeting. On September 22-23, 2019, experts in the field led timely presentations and discussions that coincided with the meeting’s theme of Working Smarter. Working Together.

October 1, 2019

On September 26, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved daratumumab (DARZALEX®, Janssen) for adult patients with multiple myeloma in combination with bortezomib, thalidomide, and dexamethasone in newly diagnosed patients who are eligible for autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT).

September 30, 2019

In a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), ASCO President Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, MD, FACP, FASCO, commented on provisions in the proposed 2020 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) and Quality Payment Program (QPP) proposed rule that would impact cancer care for Medicare beneficiaries.

September 26, 2019

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is sponsoring a quarterly webinar series honoring the legacy of Arti Hurria, MD, in improving the treatment of older adults with cancer. The first webinar titled, Perspectives on Cancer and Aging: Arti Hurria Memorial Webinar Series, will be held on October 7, 2019, from 1:00-2:00 pm ET. 

September 25, 2019

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) presented its 2018 Advocate of the Year Award to Alexandra Thomas, MD, for her exceptional contributions and commitment to the society’s policy and advocacy efforts. As a 2017-2018 participant in ASCO’s Leadership Development Program (LDP), Dr. Thomas went above and beyond to improve research and access to treatment for people living with cancer.

September 25, 2019

ASCO today presented Representatives Ben Ray Luján (NM-3) and Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) with its annual Congressional Leadership Award in recognition of the lawmakers' exceptional, bipartisan commitment to supporting cancer research and treatment. The ASCO award honors Members of Congress who are leading champions for patients and survivors of cancer, their families, and their cancer care teams. 

September 24, 2019

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that the automatic extreme and uncontrollable circumstance policy will apply to Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) eligible clinicians in