BETHESDA, Md--The National Cancer Institute and the Department
of Defense (DOD) have signed an in-teragency agreement that gives
the 8.3 million beneficiaries of TRICARE/CHAMPUS, the DOD's health
program, access to NCI-sponsored clinical treatment trials. About
12,000 of the DOD beneficiaries are diagnosed with cancer each
DOD participation will be limited to phase II and phase III trials.
All medical care required as a result of participation in approved
trials will be provided by the DOD's medical treatment facilities
or by civilian providers who will be reimbursed through TRICARE/CHAMPUS.
The DOD will not reimburse for costs associated with nontreatment
research activities, such as data collection, salaries of research
nurses, and the cost of investigational agents, and patients will
not be required to pay for such costs.
At the official document signing, Philip R. Lee, MD, assistant
secretary of health, said that the interagency agreement could
serve as a model not only for the private sector but for the entire
health-care financing industry.
NCI director Richard Klausner praised DOD for its "foresight,
sense of responsibility, and clear concern for the best care of
its community. The willingness of DOD to join us in this partnership
is an important statement of it commitment to progress against
TRICARE/CHAMPUS providers seeking program information or authorization
for treatment in an NCI-sponsored trial should call the TRICARE/CHAMPUS
contractor, Palmetto Government Benefits Administrators (GBA),