The ACCC 40th Annual National Meeting took place during an exciting week in the nation's capital, coinciding with a vote on the SGR on Capitol Hill, the end of marketplace open enrollment, and increasingly urgent national debate on issues of payment reform, cost of care, and quality. Read on for meeting highlights.
With the U.S. Senate on the brink of passing “SGR fix” legislation, ACCC Capitol Hill Day participants had an exciting day on Monday in Washington, D.C. ACCC members from more than 27 states showed strength in numbers, joining together and making their voices heard. Participants were scheduled for more than 100 visits with House and Senate offices throughout the day. “It felt empowering to have your voice actually heard by someone setting policy,” said Angela Tambini of the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass. Read our blog to learn more.
Paula Kim (on L) was presented with the ACCC Annual Achievement Award by then-ACCC President Virginia Vaitones, MSW, OSW-C, during Annual National Meeting opening ceremonies on Tuesday. Ms. Kim, a co-founder of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), accepted the award "on behalf of patients and their families." In her remarks, she suggested re-defining the “C word” to represent “Care, Collaborate, and Community.”
Echoing the meeting’s “strength in numbers” theme, she urged attendees to increase collaborative efforts with patient advocacy groups and "harness our energies" to work together. “As you do your work I would encourage you to think about how you can better collaborate...with organizations in your community,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about the patient.”
“If you are looking for change, I would point you to your own selves in the mirror, not to Washington, D.C.,” keynote speaker Kavita Patel, MD, told attendees. Elements of the just-enacted “SGR fix” that will run through 2015 reflect Congress’s focus on “value” and value-based alternative payment models, Patel said. Among the alternative payment models, Patel believes the medical home model may align well with medical oncology. And she warned that as reimbursement moves from volume-based to value-based models, providers will face some form of risk-sharing. “In 10 to 15 years, the majority of people in this room will have some sort of risk-based contract…that will become the norm in the next several decades,” she said. Read a summary of her address here.
During a session on "What Are the Costs and Where is the Value in Cancer Care?" panelists agreed that defining value in cancer care is complex but must be patient-centered. “For patients, value has a number of different meanings,” said panelist Nancy Davenport-Ennis of the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF). “Patients want to have open dialogue with physicians about what the options are and how they are going to pay for this [treatment].” And yet, our current reimbursement system focuses on tests, procedures, hospitalizations, and equipment, and reimburses poorly for these complex, patient-focused discussions, panelists noted.
At Wednesday's luncheon, John D. Powderly II, MD, CPI, received ACCC's David King Community Clinical Scientist Award for outstanding service, leadership, and commitment to the oncology community and for promoting the goals of cancer prevention, early detection, and quality cancer treatment. Dr. Powderly is the founder of Carolina BioOncology Institute (CBOI), a cancer therapy and research center that focuses on early phase immunotherapy trials. CBOI, the only independent dedicated phase I research center on the East Coast, has opened more than 40 early-phase clinical trials since 2005.