National Policy Resources—Local Advocacy Results

As cancer care professionals who experience the challenges of providing quality cancer care first-hand, VAHO members are well positioned to educate decision-makers on how coverage and reimbursement issues affect community oncology. State and federal legislation can have a significant impact on the financial viability of local cancer programs, which is why it's so important that our members make their voices heard.

In an effort to provide resources needed to effectively advocate on the issues that are important to them, our redesigned advocacy webpage features activity from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), national healthcare coverage through the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), local news articles and webinars, and more.

We want to hear from you! If there is a specific piece of legislation you want to know more about, an important resource we're missing, or if you want to get more involved, please contact us!

Federal Advocacy 

VAHO Joins Coalition Letter Urging Addition of the Cures 2.0 Concept Paper Title IV Provisions in the Next COVID-19 Relief Package

The Virginia Association of Hematologists and Oncologists (VAHO) joined in a coalition letter to congressional leadership urging that Congress include the 21st Century Cures 2.0 concept paper, recently released by Representatives Diana DeGette and Fred Upton in upcoming legislation to further address the COVID-19 public health crisis. Specifically the letter urges leadership to include policy to provide Medicaid coverage of the routine care costs of clinical trials participation for patients with life-threatening conditions in every state. This critical protection is championed by Representatives Ben Ray Luján and Gus Bilirakis in the Clinical Treatment Act (H.R. 913).

Webinars & Webcasts

Archived Webinar: CMS Final 2020 Outpatient Prospective Payment System & Physician Fee Schedule Rules: What You Need to Know

ACCC members were invited to join legal experts and their ACCC colleagues for a one-hour overview and discussion about the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) final CY 2020 OPPS and PFS rules. The webinar covered key proposals the agency has finalized under the OPPS that will affect next year’s payments for 340B hospitals, excepted off-campus provider-based departments (PBDs), as well as updates to the administration's pricing transparency and drug pricing reform efforts. A recording of this webinar, presentation slides, and rule summaries are available to ACCC members.  

ACCC members can access summaries of the final rules here. [Requires Login] Also available, a summary of selected provisions of the CY2020 Hospital Price Transparency Requirements for Hospitals to Make Standard Charges Public final rule. [Requires Login]

View On-Demand Webinar Replay (Requires Login)

ACCCBuzz Blog Posts

Advocacy In the News

ASCO Statement on Home Infusions Raises Safety Concerns

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has released a position statement on Home Infusion of Anticancer Therapy that raises safety and oversight concerns related to home infusion of anticancer therapy and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations regarding the practice. 

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, CMS has enabled temporary flexibility related to home infusion for Part B cancer drugs. 

“We understand that COVID-19 has resulted in treatment challenges in some cases, and that home infusion services have been utilized as an alternative to treatment in outpatient facilities, but it is still unclear if the benefits outweigh the risks of this approach,”ASCO President Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO, said in a statement. “During and beyond this pandemic, patient safety must continue to be the first priority, and the decision to administer anticancer therapy in a home setting should be made only if both the treating physician and patient agree it’s in the patient’s best interest.”

ASCO states that the decision to administer anticancer therapy in a home setting should be made by the treating physician in consultation with the patient, and only after consideration of the availability of necessary precautions to protect medical staff, patients, and caregivers during infusion and disposal. The position statement makes the following six recommendations: 
  • Publicly funded independent research should be conducted to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of home infusion of anticancer therapy. 
  • CMS should not extend the temporary flexibility related to home infusion for Part B cancer drugs that was approved as part of the agency's response to the public health emergency. 
  • CMS should consult closely with oncology experts prior to implementation of its home infusion benefit in 2021, to ensure that it is only used when the treating physician and patient determine that home infusion is the most appropriate setting based on the patient’s need and treatment plan. Quality reporting for home infusion therapy services should require collection of oncology-specific measures to enable the evaluation of safety in anticancer therapy administration. 
  • With anticancer therapy, home infusion benefit policies from public and commercial insurance providers should be strictly limited to exceptional circumstances where the benefits of home infusion outweigh the potential risks to patients. 
  • Any insurance provider designing a system to deliver pre-prepared antineoplastic drugs to clinical staff should consult with treating oncologists prior to implementation. 
  • Home infusion benefit policies from public and commercial insurance providers should require verification that necessary safety protocols and precautions are in place to protect health care personnel, patients, and caregivers.
Read ASCO's news release and position statement.

Posted 7/31/2020

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