ASCO in Action

ASCO in Action provides the latest news and analysis related to critical policy issues affecting the cancer community, updates on the Association for Clinical Oncology’s ongoing advocacy efforts, and opportunities for members and others in the cancer care community to take action.

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Tune in to the ASCO in Action podcast series for analysis and commentary on cancer policy and practice issues. The podcast is available through iTunes or Google Play.

October 21, 2020

In August 2020, ASCO released a policy statement on health equity that set forth specific recommendations – including addressing underlying institutional and structural barriers to equitable care and education and awareness programs for oncology professionals – to ensure equitable access to care and research. The ASCO Health Equity Committee is developing a concrete strategic plan that the Society will pursue in the coming years, with particular emphasis on increasing workforce diversity, building partnerships with communities affected by disparities, addressing institutional discrimination in the oncology field, and increasing awareness and action on equity issues.

October 16, 2020

Oncology providers familiar with the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) guideline on older adults with cancer are two to four times more likely to conduct a geriatric assessment on patients with cancer over the age of 65, according to the first international ASCO survey aimed at determining if and how often cancer providers are using geriatric assessments when treating older adults. This is a noteworthy finding, according to ASCO, because nearly 70% of patients with cancer in the United States are 65 years of age or older, and globally, the number of new cancer cases per year among older adults will exceed 13 million by 2030.

October 15, 2020

On October 14, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration extended the approval of pembrolizumab (KEYTRUDA®, Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.) for the following indications: adult patients with relapsed or refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) and pediatric patients with refractory cHL, or cHL that has relapsed after 2 or more lines of therapy.

October 13, 2020

The Association for Clinical Oncology recently submitted comments about improving racial health equity, noting that factors including race and ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, geographic location, and insurance access are known to impact cancer care outcomes.

October 13, 2020

letter from 160 Members of Congress to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma made recommendations regarding the coming update to Evaluation and Management (E&M) services Current Procedural Terminology (CPT ®) codes (99202-99215) in 2021.

October 13, 2020

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) joined more than 110 organizations representing patients, medical researchers, providers, cancer survivors and their families in signing an endorsement letter for S. 4742, the CLINICAL TREATMENT Act.

October 13, 2020

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) responded to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Request for Information (RFI) on electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS). ASCO supports safe and unburdened access to opioids for people with cancer and asserts that EPCS provides benefits that can improve the quality of cancer care.

October 13, 2020

In less than three months, significant changes are coming to the office and outpatient Evaluation and Management (E&M) services Current Procedural Terminology (CPT ®) codes (99202-99215). Practices, physicians, and staff that have not done so already must begin preparing for these changes today to ensure a successful transition and avoid any disruption in reimbursement after January 1, 2021.

October 9, 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced updated terms for loans issued to Medicare providers and suppliers under the Accelerated and Advance Payment (AAP) Program—a program that allows the agency to make such payments in emergency situations—during  the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). Loan repayment will now begin one year from the issuance date of each provider or supplier’s payment.

October 2, 2020

On October 2, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration approved the combination of nivolumab (OPDIVO, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.) plus ipilimumab (YERVOY, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.) as first-line treatment for adult patients with unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma.

October 1, 2020

On October 1, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $20 billion in new funding for providers through the Provider Relief Fund (PRF). Under this Phase 3 General Distribution allocation, providers that have already received PRF payments will be invited to apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by COVID-19.

October 1, 2020

The Continuing Resolution provides flat funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through December 11, 2020, and does not include any emergency or additional funding for the NIH to mitigate disruptions to trials/research due to COVID-19.

October 1, 2020

Two-thirds of Americans report that their scheduled cancer screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, have been delayed or skipped in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s fourth annual National Cancer Opinion Survey.

September 30, 2020

ASCO applauds Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) for introducing bipartisan legislation to expand access to clinical trials and improve the quality of cancer research. The CLINICAL TREATMENT Act (S. 4742) would require Medicaid to guarantee coverage of the routine care costs of clinical trial participation for Medicaid enrollees with a life-threatening condition.

September 29, 2020

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) submitted comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in response to its Proposed Rule – Annual Summary Reporting Requirements Under the Right to Try Act, which proposes a statutory requirement where sponsors and manufacturers must provide an annual summary of any investigational drugs supplied for use to an eligible patient.