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.

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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 tthe 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.  

March 3, 2020

In a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) expressed concerns regarding two provisions in the 2021 Affordable Care Act (ACA) Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters proposed rule. This proposal, if implemented, would update the regulatory and financial standards applied to ACA Exchanges.

February 19, 2020

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today released a position statement on state drug repository programs, outlining ASCO’s support for drug repository programs solely for oral medications provided they are maintained within a closed system. The Society also makes recommendations to help ensure that these programs are implemented appropriately, with sufficient patient protections in place. 

February 18, 2020
On February 11, members of the Association for Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) Government Relations Committee met with several federal agencies and stakeholder groups to discuss top cancer policy priorities.

The meetings focused on drug pricing, access to clinical trials, Medicaid expansion and block grants, accelerated drug approval pathways, and other issues affecting people with cancer and their oncology care teams.

February 18, 2020

On February 18, 106 organizations representing patients, providers, medical researchers, survivors, and families joined together to urge Congress to include the bipartisan CLINICAL TREATMENT Act (H.R. 913) in the upcoming ‘must pass’ healthcare extenders package, which is expected to pass this spring. 

February 4, 2020

On January 30, Jerome Seid, MD, FACP, testified during a hearing of the Michigan State Senate Committee on Health Policy and Human Services in support of SB 612, a bill that would make important reforms to prior authorization and step therapy protocols. Dr. Seid is a member of the Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and past president of the Michigan Society of Hematology and Oncology (MSHO).

As a practicing hematologist and oncologist in Warren, Michigan, Dr. Seid provided first-hand experience to the Committee on how prior authorization impacts his patients.

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