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ASCO Applauds New Legislation to Reform Reimbursement of Cancer Chemotherapy

ASCO Applauds New Legislation to Reform Reimbursement of Cancer Chemotherapy

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently commended US Representatives Charlie Norwood (R-Ga) and Lois Capps (D-Calif) for introducing the Quality Cancer Care Preservation Act (H.R. 1622). "The current system is clearly broken, and needs to be fixed," said Paul A. Bunn, Jr, MD, president of ASCO, referring to the current Medicare reimbursement system for chemotherapy and cancer care services. "Congressionally mandated Medicare reform that properly reimburses both cancer drugs and cancer care services is ultimately the best solution to fixing the current system." Under the new bill, cancer drugs would be reimbursed at rates based on the manufacturer's price with an additional amount that would cover the costs of handling the drugs, including procurement, capital invested in inventory, storage, waste, and bad debt. The full costs of administering chemotherapy would be covered, including oncology nurse time, specialized equipment, and needed supplies. In addition, Medicare would establish reimbursement for the many services that oncologists provide that are essential to patient care, including extensive patient/family counseling regarding treatment, side effects, and end-of-life care; nutrition counseling; psychosocial services; and social work support. The new bill is strongly supported by the Cancer Leadership Council, a 29-member patient-led coalition of national cancer patient advocacy organizations, professional societies, and research organizations, including ASCO.

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