Thoughts From COA

Presentation to the Coalition of Hematology Oncology Practices (CHOP) 2017 Business Summit

Presentation to the  Coalition of Hematology Oncology Practices (CHOP)  “From Capitol Hill to Fort Worth…Oncology Policy in the Whacky World of Washington, DC” given on February 10, 2017. Click here to download the slides.

Presentation to the Puerto Rico Oncology Summit

Presentation to the  Puerto Rico Oncology Summit  “Current Oncology Care Issues...A Look at the USA and Capitol Hill"  given on February 4, 2017. Click here to download the slides.  

February 10: COA Applauds Confirmation of Dr. Tom Price as HHS Secretary

COA Looks Forward to Working with HHS Secretary Dr. Price on Strengthening Our Nation’s Cancer Care System On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Community Oncology Alliance (COA), I want to express our support for Dr. Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). As stated [...]

February 8: COA State of Community Oncology and 2017 Priorities

COA Hosts “State of the Union” Luncheon for Advocates, Stakeholders, and Industry Leaders Today, the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) hosted a “State of the Union” briefing on the state of community oncology at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. More than 100 representatives of national cancer care, patient advocacy, [...]

Webinar: Oncology Pharmacy and Oncology Accreditation, Feb. 23

Are you interested in learning about specialty and oncology pharmacy accreditation? Do you have questions about what accreditation entails and the process?  Would you like to gain insight from pharmacies that have achieved accreditation? What are the latest updates on how insurers, the government, and PBMs are recognizing and rewarding accreditation? [...]

February 1: PBMs Costing Medicare and Beneficiaries More for Drugs

Investigative White Paper on Background, Cost Impact, and Legal Issues Relating to DIR Fees A new White Paper by the law firm of Frier Levitt, LLC examines the ongoing practice by Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) to increase corporate profits through murky “direct and indirect remuneration” fees—commonly known as “DIR Fees”—charged [...]

January 23: Presentation to The New Jersey Society of Oncology Managers (NJSOM)

Presentation to the New Jersey Society of Oncology Managers (NJSOM) “From Capitol Hill to Bridgewater…A Crystal Ball Look at Oncology Policy for 2017 and Beyond” given on January 20, 2017. Click here to download the slides      

January 19: Presentation to the Midwest Oncology Practice Society (MOPS)

Presentation to the Midwest Oncology Practice Society (MOPS) "From Capitol Hill to Omaha…A Crystal Ball Look at Oncology Policy for 2017 and Beyond" given on January 19, 2017.  Click here to download the slides    

January 11: COA at White House “Moonshot” Event and Capitol Hill Briefing

On Wednesday representatives from the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) joined other oncology leaders for an event at the White House as part of Vice President Biden's Cancer Moonshot initiative. The event was the final “Making Health Care Better” series of the Obama administration and was focused on cancer challenges faced [...]

December 22: Community Oncology Alliance Elects New Officers and Board Members

Jeffrey Vacirca, MD, FACP of New York Cancer Specialists Elected President of COA for 2017-2018 Term Washington, DC – December 22, 2016 – The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) announced today that Jeffrey Vacirca, MD, FACP, CEO and managing partner/director of clinical research at New York Cancer Specialists in Long Island, [...]

December 16: COA Statement on CMS Formally Dropping Part B Experiment

“Cancer patients and their providers across the country can breathe a sigh of relief now that the Part B experiment on cancer care is finally dead. It was encouraging to have such strong support from Congress to end this proposed model that was, at best, an overreach by CMS, created [...]

December 6: COA Statement on Dr. Price for HHS Secretary

COA Looks Forward to Working with HHS Secretary Nominee Dr. Tom Price on Strengthening Our Nation’s Cancer Care Delivery System On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Community Oncology Alliance (COA), I want to express our support for my fellow Georgian and physician Dr. Tom Price as he [...]

November 22: Breaking News: Medicare Part B Experiment Dead

The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) believes that, for all intents and purposes, the Medicare Part B experiment (demo) on cancer care is dead. Late last week, top Democrats, including incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, requested that the Obama administration not release the final [...]

November 16: Educational Webinar: Biosimilars – From Science to Access & Affordability

COA recently hosted an educational webinar  surrounding the science, access, and affordability of biosimilars. This instructional session was sponsored by Apobiologix, a COA Corporate member, and delivered by Edward Li, PharmD, MPH, BCOP, Associate Professor, University of New England College of Pharmacy. COA is making a recording of the webinar [...]

November 16: COA Launches Part B Experiment Ads in Washington

This week in the DC metro market the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) is running a series of television, print, and digital advertisements to remind Congress that patients and providers are still looking for action on the Medicare Part B experiment on cancer care. This 30-second spot on the major cable [...]

October 28: CVS Indicates Reversal of Decision to Block Oncology Clinics Dispensing Patients’ Drugs

COA has recently learned that CVS Health is indicating it will not proceed with restricting cancer patients from receiving their medications from oncology practices that dispense medications. Previously, CVS had notified patients that, beginning January 1, 2017, their oncologists’ pharmacies would be considered “out of network” and medications would only [...]

October 26: Community Oncology Alliance Hosts Fifth Payer Exchange Summit

Focus on Oncology Care Model and Engaging Employers in Payment Reform More than 200 oncology care providers, payers, patient advocates, and industry leaders came together this week to discuss payment reform at the Community Oncology Alliance’s (COA) Payer Exchange Summit V. This marks COA’s fifth payment reform summit and represents [...]

October 19 – Patient Care in Peril? The Future of Physician Dispensing – Webinar

The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) and American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits (AJPB) hosted a free webinar on Monday, October 17th to discuss the impact on patient care resulting from potential changes in insurance coverage of physician dispensing. This discussion is based on a recent white paper published by COA, entitled [...]

October 4: COA Releases 2016 Community Oncology Practice Impact Report

The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) today released the 2016 Community Oncology Practice Impact Report which tracks the changing landscape of cancer care in the United States. It documents a 121% increase in community cancer clinic closings and a 172% increase in consolidation into hospitals since 2008. In that period, 380 [...]

September 22: Action Needed: Ask Your Representative to Sign the Letter to CMS!

Congressmen Tom Price, Erik Paulsen and Charles Boustany are circulating a letter to CMS that looks to rein in overreach by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). The letter asks that CMMI stop experimenting with Americans' health and cease all mandatory demos. Additionally, they ask CMMI to ensure [...]

September 15: COA Participates in Meeting at CMMI to Discuss Oncology Care Model (OCM)

Representatives from COA attended a meeting at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) that included select provider and patient organizations to discuss the OCM. COA is totally committed to the success of the OCM and provided specific input to CMMI on how to improve the process. If you [...]

September 14: COA Board of Directors Meet Outside of Washington, DC

The COA Board met to discuss a variety of issues impacting community oncology including the Medicare Part B experiment, CVS’ business decisions hurting patient care, and support of oncology payment reform initiatives such as the Oncology Care Model and bills in the Congress. More details on this all-day meeting will [...]

September 8: Hematology-Oncology Associates of Central New York Launches CPAN Chapter

Patients and Physicians at Hematology-Oncology Associates of Central New York launch National Cancer Advocacy Group Chapter COA Patient Advocacy Network (CPAN) Chapter to Advocate for Local, Accessible, and Affordable Cancer Care for All in New York East Syracuse residents have a new group dedicated to advocating for local, accessible, and affordable cancer care in their [...]

September 7: COA Testifies Before Congress on Part B Experiment

This morning COA Executive Director Ted Okon testified before the House Committee on the Budget regarding the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid’s (CMS) proposed Part B experiment. In his testimony, Okon reiterated COA’s detailed position that the experiment is Part B Model is bad medicine, deeply flawed economics, and destructive [...]

September 6: COA Comments on HOPPS and Physician Fee Schedule Rules

COA recently submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for two proposed rules for 2017. The first rule, known as the Hospital Outpatients Prospective Payment Rule (HOPPS), covers Medicare reimbursement and policies for outpatient services. In the letter we applaud CMS for its interpretation of the BBA and [...]

August 30: New White Paper: PBMs Attack on Physician Dispensing and Impact on Patient Care

PHARMACY BENEFIT MANAGERS IMPROPERLY REINTERPRET MEDICARE RULES FOR FINANCIAL GAIN PBM Actions, Including Pending Move by CVS Caremark, Will Disrupt Care for Millions of Cancer Patients and Others A new White Paper from the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) looks at recent moves by Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) to increase corporate [...]

August 3: From Capitol Hill to Lincoln, Nebraska by Ted Okon

Oncology Policy: What Lies Ahead? Read Full Presentation Here>>

August 2: COA Announces Major Support Initiative for CMS Oncology Care Model

COA Fully Committed to Success of OCM, Oncology Payment and Delivery Reform COA Providing Expert Support to OCM Practices, Launches Peer-to-Peer Learning Network, and Gathering Stakeholder Guidance for Future Support Washington, DC – August 2, 2016 – The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) has launched a major support initiative effort behind [...]

July 28: COA Launches Advanced Practice Provider Network

Learning Network for Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, and Other Advanced Practice Providers in Oncology COA has launched a new initiative to support advanced practice providers in oncology. Called the Advanced Practice Provider Network or “CAPP Network,” the initiative will support oncology nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other advanced practice providers who [...]

July 14: COA Supports New Oncology Payment Reform Bill By Senators Cornyn and Carper

Community Oncology Alliance Supports New Oncology Payment Reform Bill By Senators Cornyn and Carper Legislation Based on the Oncology Medical Home Model Focuses on Quality, Efficient Cancer Care   WASHINGTON, DC – July 14, 2016 – The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) commends Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Tom Carper (D-DE) [...]

July 13: COA Comments on Potential MACRA Delay

"It is great to see that CMS is listening to the community. This is an excellent suggestion from Acting Administrator Slavitt and one which COA asked for it in its comment letter. MACRA is simply too big of a deal to rush through and it appears they are recognizing that. [...]

July 8: COA and Alliance for Site-Neutral Payment Reform Commend CMS for Responsible Interpretation of Site-Neutral Policies

The Alliance for Site Neutral Payment Reform, which includes COA as a coalition member, commends the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for supporting and strengthening site neutral payment policies within its 2017 OPPS/ASC Proposed Payment Rule. The proposed rule appropriately disallows the provision of additional services in existing facilities, or the [...]

June 29: Comments on Senate Finance Part B Experiment Hearing

Yesterday’s Senate Finance hearing underscored that there is absolutely no data to support the Medicare Part B experiment on seniors’ medical care. What is most shocking is that CMS is ignoring the documented facts that Medicare payment cuts since 2004, have actually driven up cancer care costs for both Medicare [...]

June 18: COA National Part B Experiment Ad Campaign

COA has kicked off a major national advertising campaign thanking individual members of Congress for their support in fighting the proposed Medicare Part B experiment and asking others for their support. The bipartisan campaign includes radio spots, newspaper advertisements, direct mail pieces, and digital ads tailored to individual members and markets. It [...]

June 28: COA Files Comments on MACRA Implementation

Among other things, COA requests that CMS delay implementation of the baseline year in MACRA of 2017 until 2018 and consider the Oncology Care Model and Oncology Medical Homes to be Alternative Payment Models. Read Full Comment Letter Here>>  

June 17: COA Statement on MedPAC June, 2016 Report to Congress

“MedPAC has issued another tone-deaf report on Medicare cancer drug reimbursement to Congress. It completely ignores the obvious and dramatic shift of oncology care into the more expensive hospital setting. The conclusions MedPAC reaches are based on thin, unrepresentative data and ignore all the very-real costs required to deliver quality [...]

May 25: No Official Delay to the CMS Part B Experiment

There is no delay to the CMS Part B experiment that we know of officially. The 2019 date simply refers to the statutory requirement that the final rule be filed by that time, not that CMS intends to delay it for 3 years. COA believes, for all the reasons stated [...]

May 18: COA Board Member Testifies Before Congress on Medicare Cancer Experiment

COA board member Debra Patt, MD, MPH, MBA, Vice President, Texas Oncology, Medical Director, The US Oncology Network, Chair, Clinical Practice Committee American Society of Clinical Oncology, Editor and Chief Journal of Clinical Oncology - Clinical Cancer Informatics, testified before the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce regarding [...]

May 24: COA Submits Formal Comments on CMS Medicare Part B “Model”

It is an Experiment that is Bad Medicine, Flawed Economics, Destructive Policy, and Legally Invalid The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) today submitted formal comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding the proposed Medicare Part B Drug Payment Model. The letter expresses strong opposition to the CMS experiment and [...]

May 24: Do Not Forget: Submit Comments to CMS on the Medicare Experiment by May 9th!

COA and others are putting the pressure on policymakers, but CMS needs to hear from you! The comment period on the experiment is only open for twelve more days. Be sure to make your voice heard. It is important that CMS receives a lot of letters from oncology practices. The deadline for [...]

May 24: Statement on Senate Finance Medicare Part B Experiment Letters

Statement from the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) on the recently released letters from the United States Senate Committee on Finance: "It is encouraging to see that Congress is beginning to see what a disaster the Medicare Part B experiment will be for seniors and their providers. The recent letters from [...]

May 24: Ask your Representative: Sign the letter to CMS!

Three top members of Congress are circulating a letter to their colleagues to join them in signing asking CMS to withdraw the Medicare experiment on cancer care and other medical conditions. Immediate action is needed to get this letter signed! Tom Price (GA-R), Charles Boustany (LA-R), and John Shimkus (IL-R) [...]

May 24: Highlights from the 2016 Community Oncology Conference

The most successful Community Oncology Conference ever, wrapped up on Friday featuring a record-breaking 926 attendees, a more than fifty-percent increase from last year. In addition to presentations during the clinical, business, and advocacy sessions, attendees saw the launch of the “I Am Community Oncology” campaign and heard from our [...]

May 24: Landmark Study Takes In-Depth Look at Cost Drivers of Cancer Care

New Milliman Study Commissioned by Community Oncology Alliance Finds Costs for Treating Patients With Cancer Increased at Essentially Same Rate as Other Health Care Spending Findings Examine Impact of Drug Payments and Disparate Site of Service Costs A new Milliman study shows that over the last decade the total costs of [...]

May 24: Announcing CancerExperiment.com: Stop the Medicare Experiment on Cancer Care!

Patients, advocates, & practices spoke, COA listened. Today we launched www.CancerExperiment.com with a huge array of easy-to-use resources for asking Congress to help us ‪#‎StopCMSCuts and stop the proposed Medicare experiment on cancer care. Check it out, share the news, make calls, send emails, and get involved!  

May 24: 300+ National & State Organizations Ask Congress: Stop the CMS Drug Payment Proposal!

This morning an unprecedented 316 national and state healthcare and related organizations sent a letter to Congress expressing strong concern with the proposed CMS Medicare Part B Drug Payment Model. The organizations request that Congress ask CMS to withdraw the proposed rule. Click Here to Read the Latest Letter The letter [...]

May 24: Sign the letter to Congress: Stop CMS from implementing the ASP experiment!

Health care organizations at the state and national level are invited to sign this letter to Congress asking them to stop the recently announced Medicare Part B Drug Pricing experiment. Click Here to Review the Draft Letter. If your organization is interested in signing on email Deandra Dickson (ddickson@coacancer.org) before [...]

May 24: COA Letter on Medicare Part B Drug Payment Model

An Experiment on Patients; CMS Proposal Sets a Dangerous Precedent Today, the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) sent a letter to HHS Secretary Burwell and CMS Acting Director Slavitt regarding the recently released CMS Medicare Part B Drug Payment Model. “The CMS Medicare Part B Drug Payment Model is an inappropriate, potentially dangerous, and [...]

May 24: CMS Releases Full Medicare Part B Payment Proposal

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a proposal to change the way it pays for drugs under the Medicare Part B program. These are drugs purchased in the outpatient setting which include chemotherapy medications critical to patient care. Per the CMS notice, "The proposed model would test [...]

May 24: More Than 100 Organizations Oppose CMS Medicare Part B Drug Payment Model

101 organizations including COA and CPAN submitted a letter to HHS Secretary Burwell and CMS Acting Administrator Slavitt expressing the concern that the proposed CMS Medicare Part B Drug Payment Model will "adversely affect the care and treatment of Medicare patients with complex conditions, such as cancer, macular degeneration, hypertension, [...]

May 24: Comments Submitted to the E&C Committee on Site Neutral Payments

Last week COA submitted comments to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce opposing any efforts to rollback changes made in last year’s balanced budget to Medicare's site neutral payments. When billed by hospitals, higher Medicare and private pay reimbursement for outpatient oncology services, combined with the very [...]

May 24: President’s Budget Grounds Cancer Moonshot; Fails Patients and Taxpayers

Will Drive Up Costs for Seniors with Cancer and Taxpayers Leaked Mandatory CMS Payment ‘Experiment’ Misguided The federal budget just released by President Obama contains another harmful cut to Medicare payments for cancer drugs. If implemented, the cut would further consolidate cancer care into the more expensive hospital setting and [...]

May 24: CMS to Experiment on Care Provided to Senior Cancer Patients

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, then [...]

May 24: COA Joins Congressional Briefing on 340B Program

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. The day before the briefing, [...]

May 24: Testifying in Albany on Medicaid cuts

COA joined New York community oncology practices 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.   Read Full Article Here>>

May 24: Community Oncology Alliance Elects New Officers and Board Members for 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," [...]

Featured

Formal Comments on Medicare Part B Experiment

It is an Experiment that is Bad Medicine, Flawed Economics, Destructive Policy, and Legally Invalid...

Fact Check Report on Medicare Part B Experiment Concerns

Flawed Analysis: Fact-Checking the MSK Evidence Driven Drug Pricing Project Review of Congressional Concerns Regarding the Medicare Part B Drug Payment Model

A Video from Joan Lunden

A Conversation with Joan Lunden On Community Oncology