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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.

From April 12-16, U.S. members of ASCO participated in the 2021 ASCO Advocacy Summit, where 148 advocates from 44 states and the District of Columbia held 222 virtual meetings—the most ever held during an Advocacy Summit—with Members of Congress and staff to urge action on important policies to improve access to high-quality, equitable care for people with cancer.
Both chambers of the United States Congress recently passed separate bills to extend the temporary moratorium on the 2% sequestration cut to Medicare reimbursement. The moratorium is currently set to expire on March 31, 2021, and both bills would extend the moratorium until December 31, 2021. However, since the House and Senate legislation differ, further action is needed before the extension becomes law.
The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) endorsed the “PREVENT HPV Cancers Act” (H.R. 1550), which was recently introduced by Representative Kathy Castor (FL-14). In a recent letter to the lawmaker, ASCO thanked Rep. Castor for introducing this important measure to increase research on, awareness of, and access to the vaccine which prevents the human papillomavirus (HPV) types that cause most types of cervical cancers as well as some other cancers.
ASCO joined the American Medical Association (AMA) and many national specialty and state medical societies in sending a sign-on letter to congressional leadership advocating that Congress pass legislation to extend the current moratorium on the two percent Medicare payment sequester beyond the March 31 expiration date.
One of ASCO’s top legislative priorities, the Safe Step Act of 2021 (S. 464), was introduced in the Senate by Senator Murkowski (R-AK), Senator Hassan (D-NH), Senator Cassidy (R-LA), and Senator Rosen (D-NV). The Safe Step Act establishes an exemption process for step therapy protocol by requiring insurers implement a clear and transparent process for a patient or physician to request an exception, and requires a group health plan respond to an exemption request within 72 hours, or 24 hours if the patient’s life is at risk.
The pandemic has severely impacted America’s research pipeline and caused laboratories to shut down, which in turn means that many students and research staff have lost their jobs and valuable research progress. In addition to annual funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), emergency supplemental funding is critical to ensure our biomedical research enterprise and clinical trials networks can recover from disruptions caused by COVID-19.
ASCO's Road to Recovery Report: Learning From the COVID-19 Experience to Improve Clinical Research and Cancer Care, among other recommendations, calls for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a special enrollment period on the federal health insurance exchange, abandon plans that limit access to healthcare, and enact policies that enhance access to care for patients with cancer.
In the midst of growing concerns that patients with cancer have limited access to the COVID-19 vaccines, ASCO and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, issued a joint letter to every state governor in the United States urging them to prioritize patients with cancer in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines