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 year.
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 cancer."
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), at 1-800-779-3060.