Thoughts From COA

CMS to Experiment on Care Provided to Senior Cancer Patients

Created on: Tuesday, February 09, 2016

COA has obtained a copy of a document to Medicare carriers and others providing notice of an experiment that CMS intends to conduct on the care provided to senior cancer patients and disabled individuals with cancer covered by Medicare. The document was inadvertently posted by CMS on its website,...

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COA Joins Congressional Briefing on 340B Program

COA Joins Congressional Briefing on 340B Program

Created on: Thursday, February 04, 2016

COA executive director Ted Okon recently participated in a panel briefing for Congressional staff on the 340B drug discount program. The standing-room-only audience included representatives from over 50 bipartisan Hill offices who heard firsthand about the negative impact of the program on community oncology practices.

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Testifying in Albany on Medicaid cuts

Testifying in Albany on Medicaid cuts

Created on: Tuesday, January 26, 2016

COA joined community oncology practices from across New York in Albany on Monday to testify before the State Senate and Assembly. We were there to raise the alarm about the adverse impact that new Medicaid payment cuts will have on dually eligible Medicare patients.

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Community Oncology Alliance Elects New Officers and Board Members for 2016

Created on: Wednesday, January 13, 2016

COA announces the election of a new Board of Directors and Executive Committee officers. "2016 is primed to be an important year for community oncology. We anticipate significant progress on payment reform initiatives such as the Oncology Medical Home (OMH) and ongoing examinations of the 340B drug program and more," said Bruce Gould, MD, president of COA and a practicing oncologist with the Northwest Georgia Oncology Centers in Marietta, Ga. "COA is strengthened by the very active involvement of its volunteer Board and Executive team. We welcome the new and continuing Board members. Their participation ensures that COA will continue in its strivings for the betterment of community cancer care."

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Medicare Reimbursement for Cancer Treatment in 340B Hospitals Increases 110%

Created on: Wednesday, December 16, 2015

An update (with recently released 2014 Medicare data) to the Berkeley Research Group analysis of the 340B drug discount program documents that 340B hospitals are costing Medicare and senior cancer patients over 50% more than cancer treatment delivered in community cancer clinics.

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COA Applauds Inclusion of Medicare Payment Site Neutrality in Budget Deal

Created on: Thursday, October 29, 2015

COA applauds Congress for including a fix to the disparity in Medicare payments to hospital outpatient departments and physician offices in their bipartisan budget deal. The site-neutral payment fix will result in lower costs for seniors, especially with cancer, the Medicare program, and taxpayers. Starting in 2017, Medicare will pay identical rates for critical cancer care services, such as the administration of chemotherapy, whether provided in physician-directed community cancer clinics or hospital outpatient departments.

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New Study Reveals 340B Program Significantly Larger Than Previously Understood

New Study Reveals 340B Program Significantly Larger Than Previously Understood

Created on: Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The study finds that hospitals participating in the 340B program accounted for 58 percent of all Medicare Part B hospital outpatient drug reimbursements in 2013. For just oncology drugs, 340B hospitals accounted for over 60 percent of reimbursements. Both metrics saw double-digit growth during the study period of 2010-2013, increasing from 43 and 47 percent respectively. This growth is poised to continue, as more hospitals become 340B eligible. Additionally, the study shows that 340B hospitals are costing Medicare and beneficiaries over 50 percent more for cancer care.

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CMS Releases 2016 Proposed Medicare Physician Schedule; Proposes Paying for End-of-Life Discussions

Created on: Thursday, July 09, 2015

The proposed rule for how CMS/Medicare will pay physicians in 2016 was released with an underlying .5% fee increase for all physicians. Medical oncology and imaging escaped with no fee cuts; however, radiation will be cut by 3% and free-standing radiation centers will be cut by 9%. Most notably, CMS proposes to pay physicians to have end-of-life discussions with their patients. Other notable aspects of the proposed rule include implementation of the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System mandated by the SGR legislation passed by Congress and requirements on submitting appropriate use criteria for advanced imaging.

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New Government Report Finds 340B Hospitals Increase the Cost of Cancer Care

Created on: Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a new report stating that action is needed to reduce the financial incentives that 340B hospitals have to use more drugs and more expensive drugs. According to the report, "GAO found that in both 2008 and 2012, per beneficiary Medicare Part B drug spending, including oncology drug spending, was substantially higher at 340B DSH hospitals than at non-340B hospitals. This indicates that, on average, beneficiaries at 340B DSH hospitals were either prescribed more drugs or more expensive drugs than beneficiaries at the other hospitals in GAO’s analysis."

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60 Minutes Reruns Skewed, Inaccurate Broadcast on Cancer Drugs

Created on: Thursday, June 25, 2015

60 Minutes rebroadcast its story, The High Cost of Cancer Drugs, on June 21, 2015. The story originally aired in October 2014. The response of the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) to this highly skewed, inaccurate segment remains the same. The story was skewed and inaccurate. Although representatives from COA appeared on camera, talked with 60 Minutes staff, and provided written information about community cancer care, 60 Minutes completely ignored our input in Lesley Stahl’s originally story, The High Cost of Cancer Drugs, that 60 Minutes rebroadcast.

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