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Live from the ACCC 48th Annual Meeting & Cancer Center Business Summit on March 3, Jennie R. Crews, MD, MMM, FACP, ACCC 2016-17 President, discusses ACCC's involvement in the White House's Cancer Moonshot initiative--from its launch in 2016 to the new energy generated by President Biden's revamp of the program in February 2022. Then hear how ACCC's legislative priorities into the Cancer Moonshot's commitment to increase cancer survivorship and reduce barriers to equitable cancer care.
Jennie R. Crews, MD, MMM, FACP
SCCA Network and Community Sites
Matt Devino, MPH
Director, Cancer Care Delivery and Health Policy
Association of Community Cancer Centers
CANCER BUZZ: Welcome back to this special edition of CANCER BUZZ. I'm Summer Johnson. We're here at the ACCC’s 48th Annual Meeting and Cancer Business Summit (AMCCBS) held this week in Washington, DC. This is the 2nd of four special conversations with those attending the meeting. This one, we're talking about President Biden's Moonshot Initiative. We're here with Matt Devino, MPH. He's the Government Relations Director at ACCC. Matt, tell us a little bit about yourself and where you came from before you were here.
Matt Devino, MPH: Sure. So I was previously with the Medical Group Management Association based out of DC doing government affairs previously as well. So not a stranger to health policy and the world of government relations, but I am relatively new to oncology care. So this is my first foray into actually advocating on behalf of cancer care providers.
CANCER BUZZ: Oh, fantastic. Well, we're just off the heels of the president's state of the union, of course, and where he is talking about moonshot again, which is exciting to everyone in this room. What do we need to know that ACCC is doing with the white house and of course, with Capitol hill in moonshot?
Matt Devino, MPH: Sure. So we are very excited and very supportive of the Cancer Moonshot, relaunch, and glad that the president is revisiting that initiative that really ACCC begin working on and supporting back in 2016 with Dr. Jennie Crews when she was president of the association. And so we're looking to build upon that and speaking with Dr. Crews and other members of our governmental affairs committee, you know, fully invested in supporting moonshot again, and especially a few things that it didn't do previously or topics that it wasn't really touching upon.
And so it is focusing to a greater extent on prevention and screening. And so moving that focus further upstream in the cancer care continuum than it had previously. And so that's something that we're very supportive of, especially on the heels of, of COVID and knowing that screenings are lagging so far behind where they should be as a result of the pandemic. And the other thing that is a priority and Moonshot is a focus on health equity and really making sure that we're, you know, solving for disparities or at least trying to through these initiatives and that's work that members of a ACCC have been doing for years now through its educational programs and research projects.
CANCER BUZZ: So part of your job is not only communicating ACCC’s position on Moonshot to all of the powers that be in DC, but also you have legislative priorities. What are those for ACCC for the coming year?
Matt Devino, MPH: Sure. So I could talk about those priorities in the context of Moonshot, because there are things that work very well within that framework. So one is multi cancer, early detection and screening. And so there are technologies that are being researched and developed currently that would allow a variety of different cancers to be detected earlier on. And those things don't currently have the ability to be covered by Medicare. It would require the creation of a new benefit category within the Medicare program in order to cover those things.
And so we are, have been proponents of the Medicare, multi cancer, early detection screening coverage act, which has legislation in both the house and the Senate and bipartisan support of both of those bills. And so that's something that we could see fitting very nicely within the framework of Cancer Moonshot and the focus on prevention and screening, especially given, you know, only five cancer types are currently covered as a preventative benefit within Medicare and over 70% of cancers are caused by cancers that do not have screening options currently.
So that's something that we could definitely get behind as we think about clinical trials as well. And the, you know, ACORI, which is a big priority of Dr. Oyer, the focus there is increasing diversity in clinical trials and making sure that patients have access to participate without the barriers that exist for underserved populations. And so we support the diverse trials act, which would help to minimize those barriers and that fits well into Moonshot as well, and decreasing disparities in cancer care delivery and research.
CANCER BUZZ: We'll be following along to the government relations efforts here on CANCER BUZZ. Thank you, Matt.
Matt Devino, MPH: Thank you.
CANCER BUZZ: Also joining us today, Dr. Jennie Crews. Dr. Crews, could you tell our audience who you are and what you do?
Jennie R. Crews, MD, MMM, FACP: Absolutely. I'm a medical oncologist and the Vice President and Medical Director of the Seattle Cancer Carolina's Community and Network programs. So I oversee our community sites in the greater Seattle area and a network of nine programs in five states.
CANCER BUZZ: Dr. Crews, we're here with the oncology community in Washington, DC, fresh off of the heels of the president's state of the union. You were ACCC president during the original Moonshot. Tell us the initial collaboration between ACCC and that original Moonshot effort.
Jennie R. Crews, MD, MMM, FACP: Yeah, it was a wonderful opportunity for community oncology to be recognized as an important part of the Moonshot initiative when it was initially launched, as you may know, about 80% of cancer care happens within the community. And so it was great that President Biden and the original Moonshot team recognized the importance of engaging community oncologists in that effort, a lot of the initial Moonshot excitement was really around how do we change the course of cancer within the U.S. and bringing in the multidisciplinary team of cancer care that ACCC represents was really an opportunity for us to engage and move the needle.
CANCER BUZZ: It was great to have a Vice President who spearheaded this effort, and then he stepped away for four years. And now he's back and he's talking about it again. Did we lose any momentum in that four years as the oncology community?
Jennie R. Crews, MD, MMM, FACP: You know, I think that we may have lost some visibility. Obviously, there have been other things that have happened that have taken precedent. COVID being one of them. But I think the spirit of the Moonshot was always there behind the scenes and a lot of the public private partnerships that resulted from the moonshot and a lot of the initiatives around improving cancer care were happening. But I think it's nice now that that's been brought back front and center with this recognition that now President Biden has introduced in, in relaunching the Moonshot.
CANCER BUZZ: Let's talk about the new effort and the future for Moonshot. What are you looking forward to?
Jennie R. Crews, MD, MMM, FACP: Yeah, I think that there is a kind of a renewed energy and a slightly pivot of focus. And the two areas that I'm really excited about are this idea of decreasing mortality from cancer by 50%, which is a very audacious goal and has been cited as part of the relaunch. But also there is a component of improving the experience of patients and caregivers throughout that cancer journey. And so I think that's a really exciting change in focus with the relaunch.
CANCER BUZZ: For more from the Annual Meeting, you can stay tuned to this podcast channel over the next two days. You can check out the website accc-cancer.org/AMCCBS. And you can also follow along on social media channels, just search for ACCCBuzz that's at this time or CANCER BUZZ. This is Summer Johnson.
CANCER BUZZ is a resource of the Association of Community Cancer Centers.