Cancer Center of Middle Georgia Launches Local Chapter of National Advocacy Organization

December 3, 2018

New CPAN Chapter Gives Cancer Patients, Survivors A Forum to Speak Out for Access to Local Cancer Care

The Cancer Center of Middle Georgia (CCMG) at the practice’s offices at 2400 Bellevue Road, Suite #26, in Dublin, launched a new local chapter of the Community Oncology Alliance Patient Advocacy Network (CPAN), which will advocate for cancer patients locally and nationally.

The chapter brings together cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and family members; oncology and other medical professionals; and community members to preserve local, quality, affordable cancer care for all. For cancer patients, having care that’s close to home is especially important – a task that has become tougher as more than 423 community oncology clinics have closed nationwide since 2008, due in part to Medicare payment policies. At the same time, many hospitals and health systems are consolidating, leaving fewer locally owned or managed options for cancer patients.

“We are proud to further empower our patients with this chapter opening which would be the first of its kind in a non-metro area of our great state” said Dr. Harsha Vyas, president and consultant physician at CCMG. “This advocacy chapter will serve to educate the local cancer community about legislative issues affecting the accessibility, affordability and quality of cancer care. CPAN has made a difference in the lives of cancer patients by advocating for critical access to prescribed healthcare while providing tools and a voice in maintaining their financial health and security in a time of great uncertainty.”

Dr. Vyas has been involved in various advocacy activities, including communicating the importance of preserving community oncology as the best way to deliver personalized, high quality, affordable, accessible cancer care. He has also met with lawmakers about various barriers to effective delivery of cancer care in rural areas. Congressman Rick Allen GA-12 visited CCMG on August 3, 2018 and met with patients and staff to see first-hand the impact this center continues to have in this part of middle Georgia.

“At the Cancer Center of Middle Georgia, we are committed to giving our patients quality care right here in Dublin, close to home,” said Amber Jenkins, CPAN chapter leader. “As an Oncology Care Model (OCM) practice, we are at the forefront of delivering high quality, affordable cancer care in the community setting.”

CPAN is a nationally recognized patient advocacy group that gives patients, survivors, and others a vital voice in both sharing their experiences and advocating for their community cancer care. There are active CPAN chapters across the country, and advocates travel regularly to Washington, D.C. talking to members of Congress and federal policymakers about the importance of community oncology, which is where most Americans with cancer receive their care.

Rose Gerber, director of patient advocacy and education for the Community Oncology Alliance (COA), a non-profit organization dedicated solely to preserving and protecting access to community cancer care, cited the need for changes in how Medicare pays for cancer care for its beneficiaries. When community oncology clinics close, patients are often treated in hospitals, where treatments can cost 50 percent more for both patients and taxpayers.

“Cancer Center of Middle Georgia helps patients receive state-of-the-art, personalized care close to their homes,” Gerber said. “All too often, they are the ones that suffer the most when local, affordable cancer care is threatened by misguided government policies,” Gerber said. “Thanks to the leadership of Cancer Centers of Middle Georgia, cancer patients, family members, and survivors now have access to a powerful, national advocacy network.”

The chapter launch also included presentations by Cancer Center of Middle Georgia’s Dr. Harsha Vyas, Dr. Arvind Aggarwal, and Amber Jenkins, CPAN Chapter Leader, as well as Rose Gerber.

About the Community Oncology Alliance (COA)
The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) is a non-profit organization dedicated solely to preserving and protecting access to community cancer care, where the majority of Americans with cancer are treated. COA leads community cancer clinics in navigating an increasingly challenging environment to provide efficiencies, patient advocacy, and proactive solutions to Congress and policy makers. To learn more about COA visit www.CommunityOncology.org.

About the COA Patient Advocacy Network (CPAN)
The Community Oncology Alliance Patient Advocacy Network (CPAN) was created in recognition of the vital role patients should play in advocating for access to local, affordable cancer care for all. CPAN is a non-cancer type-specific, national network representing patients, cancer survivors, caregivers, family members, medical and oncology professionals, and other advocates. To learn more about CPAN visit www.COAadvocacy.org.

About Cancer Center of Middle Georgia
The mission of the Cancer Center of Middle Georgia is to deliver quality affordable comprehensive hematology and oncology care in the community setting with comfort, compassion and privacy. The Center’s board-certified physicians are committed to providing the community cancer patient with access to cutting edge clinical research as an added therapeutic option close to home. CCMG delivers quality cancer care in the community setting by empowering patients with essential knowledge enabling them to make the most appropriate decision regarding their treatment. The Center is part of the Medicare-championed quality model, in which only a few chosen practices in the nation participate.