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Oncology Practice Insider

ASCO’s Oncology Practice Insider provides the latest news, information, and educational tools to assist with the successful management of oncology practice and the delivery of high quality patient care. OPI offers updates on ASCO programs, services, and cancer-related health policy, Medicare news, and billing and coding best practices. To sign up for the biweekly Oncology Practice Insider newsletter, please complete this form.

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In the latest ASCO in Action Podcast, Dr. Beverly Moy joined ASCO CEO Dr. Clifford A. Hudis to discuss financial barriers to patient participation in clinical trials—and solutions to address this problem. Dr. Moy stresses that improving trial participation in underserved groups is critical to discovering new cancer treatments that are effective in all populations. “No patient should be harmed financially because of their contributions to the advancement of science,” says Dr. Moy. “If we’re united in this belief, then we really can move forward together.”
Members of Congress recently introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 6836, the CLINICAL TREATMENT Act, which would require Medicaid to cover the routine costs of care for patients with life threatening conditions who are enrolled in clinical trials. ASCO worked closely with Members of Congress to shape the legislation to address this gap in coverage for clinical trials.
The FDA recently announced new changes to expand and update the Expanded Access (EA) program, which allows very ill patients access to experimental treatments outside of clinical trials. The most recent updates include:
The American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates (HOD) adopted and reaffirmed ASCO-led resolutions on cancer policy priorities, including step therapy, Medicare Part B drugs, a Competitive Acquisition Program (CAP), and clinical trial access during the recent Interim Meeting of the AMA HOD. Read more. 
In the latest ASCO in Action Podcast, ASCO CEO Dr. Clifford A. Hudis discusses results from the 2018 National Cancer Opinion survey.  Among the key findings, the survey shows that nearly 40% of Americans believe cancer can be cured solely through alternative therapies. Expressing concern, Dr. Hudis says research has shown the sole use of these therapies is associated with a higher mortality rate. However, he sees this as an opportunity to inform the public. “We cannot ignore this widespread belief,” he says.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final rule for the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) and Quality Payment Program (QPP) outlining reimbursement changes for 2019. CMS estimates that the overall impact will be a one percent reimbursement cut for the hematology/oncology and radiation/oncology specialties in 2019.
In a new ASCO in Action Podcast, ASCO CEO Dr. Clifford A. Hudis highlights key studies from this year’s ASCO Quality Care Symposium, focusing on financial toxicity and opioid use. One study found that cancer patients face some of the same risks as the general population when using prescribed opioids for pain treatment. Also, a majority of all patients experience some form of financial toxicity while trying to pay for their cancer treatments.
On September 17, the Senate passed the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, with a vote of 98-2, which had already been passed in the House.  This bill aims to make it easier for patients to get the lowest price on prescription drugs by removing “gag clauses” currently imposed on pharmacists by private health insurance plans.