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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May 26, 2020

In an open letter, the Regulatory Relief Coalition (RRC) called on all health plans in the United States to suspend prior authorization requirements for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19-related services during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is a member of RRC, which is a group of national physician specialty organizations advocating for regulatory burden reduction in Medicare.  

May 14, 2020

On May 7, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 2021 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters final rule, which updates the regulatory and financial standards for Affordable Care Act (ACA) Exchanges. The rule finalized a policy that gives insurers the discretion to not count any form of direct support from drug manufacturers to enrollees for specific prescription drugs toward the annual limit on patient cost sharing amounts.

May 12, 2020

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently submitted comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the agency’s draft guidance to encourage the inclusion of older adults in clinical trials of cancer drug treatments.

April 24, 2020

On April 22, HHS announced the allocation of an additional $40.4 billion from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund.

April 20, 2020

JCO Oncology Practice published an article and accompanying infographic  that examine the impact pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have on cancer care delivery. The article is part of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) State of Cancer Care in America series, which explores challenges and opportunities in today’s oncology delivery system.

March 27, 2020

Congress recently passed a third legislative package focused on stabilizing the United States economy and shoring up the health care system to ensure it is prepared to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. The bill includes key provisions that will impact the cancer care community, as well as patients with and survivors of cancer.

March 24, 2020

A new study in JCO Oncology Practice (JCO OP) shows that using clinical pathways in an oncology-specific alternative payment model (APM) can help reduce the cost of cancer care.

March 23, 2020

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is urging the White House and leaders in Congress to swiftly work together to meet the needs of patients and health care professionals in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

March 23, 2020

On March 18, the President signed into law the second emergency supplemental package designed to respond to COVID-19, which requires private health plans, Medicare Advantage Plans, TRICARE, veterans’ plans, federal workers' health plans, and the Indian Health Service to cover the COVID-19 diagnostic test at no cost to the patient and without prior authorization, as long as the patient visits a health care provider, urgent care center, or emergency room before receiving the test.

March 17, 2020

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued two final rules aimed at improving the interoperability of electronic health records and defining information blocking. The first rule comes from HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), and the second rule comes from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

March 17, 2020

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently held a briefing on Capitol Hill to inform policymakers and other stakeholders about the need for the bipartisan CLINICAL TREATMENT Act (H.R. 913), which would guarantee coverage of the routine care costs for Medicaid enrollees with life-threatening conditions participating in clinical trials.

March 11, 2020

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has developed a summary of updates from states and private payers in response to COVID-19. The summary includes information on coverage for laboratory tests, provider visits, telehealth, and other related care, along with changes to prior authorization requirements, network restrictions, and prescription refills, among other updates.

March 9, 2020

On March 6, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020. This $8.3 billion package provides funding for the country’s response to coronavirus, including amongst its many provisions an emergency telehealth waiver, vaccine development, support for state and local governments, and assistance for affected small businesses.

Highlights from the bill include:

Emergency Telehealth Waiver ($500 million estimated cost)

March 9, 2020

On March 6, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020. On January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Azar declared a public health emergency effective January 27, 2020, affording the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)  the flexibility to quickly support Medicare beneficiaries.

March 3, 2020

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently joined more than a dozen other health groups in sending a letter to leaders of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) to convey their support of S.2723—The Mitigating Emergency Drug Shortages (MEDS) Act—which would help reduce drug shortages by addressing vulnerabilities in the drug supply chain. The letter urges the committee to quickly advance this important piece of legislation.