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Oncology Newsfeed

  • FDA Approves Durvalumab for Extensive-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer

    On March 27, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved durvalumab (Imfinzi, AstraZeneca) in combination with etoposide and either carboplatin or cisplatin as first-line treatment of patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC).

    Read FDA announcement.

    Posted 3/30/2020


  • CMS Expands Accelerated & Advance Payment Program for Medicare Providers & Suppliers

    On March 28, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it is expanding the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program for all Medicare providers throughout the country during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The payments can be requested by hospitals, doctors, durable medical equipment suppliers, and other Medicare Part A and Part B providers and suppliers.

    To qualify for accelerated or advance payments, the provider or supplier must:

    • Have billed Medicare for claims within 180 days immediately prior to the date of signature on the provider’s/ supplier’s request form,
    • Not be in bankruptcy,
    • Not be under active medical review or program integrity investigation, and
    • Not have any outstanding delinquent Medicare overpayments.

    Medicare will start accepting and processing the Accelerated/Advance Payment Requests immediately. CMS anticipates that the payments will be issued within seven days of the provider’s request. Access CMS fact sheet for more information.

    Posted 3/29/2020



  • President Trump Signs CARES Act

    On March 27, President Trump signed the $2 trillion coronavirus emergency aid bill, known as the CARES Act, into law.

    The legislation includes relief for state and local governments, businesses (large and small), hospitals, and individuals affected by the coronavirus emergency. This is the third coronavirus aid package from Congress this month.

    Posted 3/27/2020


  • ASCO Announces Virtual Annual Meeting

    The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) announced on March 24 that it will not be holding its 2020 Annual Meeting in person due to COVID-19. The scientific program will now be presented in a virtual format during the scheduled Annual Meeting timeframe. Please find more details from ASCO statement here.

    Posted 3/24/2020


  • FDA OCE Message to Oncology Providers & Patients on COVID-19

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE) issued a message on March 23 that outlines how critical issues for patients with cancer and their healthcare providers are continuing to be addressed despite the national COVID-19 health emergency. The message highlights the following as among the OCE's current priorities:
    • Continuing to expedite oncology product development.
    •  Recognition that modifications may be required in clinical trials.
    •  Continuing Expanded Access requests for investigational products. Project Facilitate remains open at (240)402-0004 or ONCProjectFacilitate@fda.hhs.gov
      from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM ET, M-F.
    • Working to anticipate and prevent drug shortages.
    • Keeping the cancer community informed.

    Read message.

    Posted 3/24/2020
    Post updated 4/1/2020



  • CMS FAQs on Medicare Provider Enrollment Relief in Response to COVID-19

    In response to the COVID-19 national emergency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is using its authority under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act to offer flexibilities with Medicare provider enrollment.

    On March 23, CMS released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Medicare Provider Enrollment Relief related to COVID-19 including the toll-free hotlines available to provide expedited enrollment and answer questions related to COVID-19 enrollment requirements.

    Access the CMS FAQs.

    Posted 3/23/2020


  • CMS Announces Exceptions & Extensions for Quality Reporting Requirements

    In response to the COVID-19 health emergency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on March 22 announced exceptions from reporting requirements and extensions for clinicians and providers participating in Medicare quality reporting programs with respect to upcoming measure reporting and data submission for those programs.

    Read agency statement (includes extensions for upcoming measure reporting and submission deadlines).

    CMS states: "For those programs with data submission deadlines in April and May 2020, submission of those data will be optional, based on the facility’s choice to report. In addition, no data reflecting services provided January 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020 will be used in CMS’s calculations for the Medicare quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs."

    Posted 3/23/2020


  • CMS Provides FAQs on Essential Health Benefits Coverage for COVID-19

    On March 12, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released COVID-19 FAQs for Essential Health Benefits (EHB). Read the FAQs here.

    Posted 3/12/2020


  • CMS Posts Fact Sheet on Coverage for COVID-19 Tests

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be covering COVID-19 tests, and for those original Medicare there is generally no copay (deductible applies). CMS is also permitting Medicare Advantage plans to waive cost-sharing for these tests. 

    CMS has posted a fact sheet to the agency's website to aid Medicare providers with information relating to the pricing of both the CDC and non-CDC COVID-19 tests. Read the fact sheet

    Visit the CMS "Current Emergencies" webpage for updates on CMS' response to this COVID-19. 

    Posted 3/13/2020



  • Report to the Nation Shows Overall Decline in Cancer Death Rates

    The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer finds that from 2001 to 2017, deaths from cancer (all sites combined) continued to decline. The report was released on March 12 and is published in the journal, Cancer.

    The annual report, which represents the collaborative efforts of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the American Cancer Society (ACS), and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries NAACCR), found decreases in the overall cancer death rates in all major racial and ethnic groups and among men, women, adolescents, young adults, and children. From 2012 to 2016 incidence of new cancers (for all cancers combined) held steady for men and increased slightly for women.

    Over a four-year period (2013 to 2017), the report found:

    Cancer death rates for men declined in 11 of the 19 most prevalent cancers, remained stable in four cancers (including prostate), and increased in four cancers (oral cavity and pharynx; soft tissue including heart, brain, and other nervous system; and pancreas).

    Cancer death rates for women decreased in 14 of the 20 most common cancers, including (lung and bronchus, breast, and colorectal), but increased for cancers of the uterus; liver; brain and other nervous system; soft tissue including heart; and pancreas. Rates for cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx remained stable.

    A companion report assesses progress on the federal government’s Healthy People 2020 objectives for four leading cancers: lung, prostate, breast cancer in women, and colorectal cancer. The targets for reducing death rates were met for all cancers combined as well as for lung, prostate, female breast, and colorectal cancers overall. However, these decreases were not consistent across all sociodemographic groups. Despite some progress over the past decade, the report points to the continued need to address disparities in cancer screening and in certain risk behaviors.

    In addition, the report finds that Healthy People 2020 targets were not met for decreasing adult cigarette smoking; increasing success in smoking cessation; lowering excessive alcohol use; or reducing obesity—behaviors that have been associated with cancer risk.

    Posted 3/11/2020